Cover photo for Juan Goitiandia's Obituary
Juan Goitiandia Profile Photo
1945 Juan 2019

Juan Goitiandia

April 28, 1945 — April 20, 2019

Juan Goitiandia
April 29, 1945 - April 20, 2019
Juan was born in Murelaga (Vizcaya), Spain in the Basque country on April 29, 1945 to Sebastian and Maria Goitiandia. Juan Goitiandia passed away April 20, 2019 of Cancer. Juan came to the USA in 1963, and studied to receive his citizenship in 1968. He worked as a sheepherder for one year. He worked for Atkinson’s Market in Ketchum, and then went to work in Sun Valley for Union Pacific Railroad, then Janss, and finally Sinclair Oil. He worked in Sun Valley for 53 years. While working in Sun Valley he also worked at the Christiana restaurant for 30 years. He married Verla Worthington and they had 3 boys. He enjoyed motorcycles, boating, hunting, fishing, camping, getting firewood, and trap shooting. His family was the most important part of his life.
He is survived by his wife Verla Worthington Goitiandia, sons: Jess (Terri), Scott (Katerina), and Marcel. Granddaughter’s and Grandson: Mary, Shea, Samantha, Sochie, Jasmine, and Kelby. Daughter’s Tonya Goitiandia, and Traci Beer, Brother Joe (Cheri) Goitiandia and many nieces and nephews.
Juan’s family suggests that in lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a charity of your choice in his name.

A viewing will be available 5:00 - 7:00PM Friday April 26th, 2019 at the Wood River Chapel, 403 N. Main Street, Hailey, Idaho.

Services will be at 11:00am on Saturday April 27, 2019, at Calvary Bible Church, North of Hailey, 102 Coyote Bluff, Hailey Idaho.

Please join the family and friends for services, graveside, and a luncheon following to reminisce with any stories you may have.

Juan was born in Murelaga (Vizcaya), Spain in the Basque country on April 29, 1945, to Sebastian and Maria Goitiandia. Born and raised on a small farm consisting of a few cattle, chickens, corn, and grain until the age of 17. Each farmer had to give half the crops to the state, regardless of having enough food for their family.
Their community consisted of 9 or 10 houses and were called Barrio’s. Each barrio had a saint. Their particular Saint was Mary or Maria Magdalena. (paa-go-dee-zha)
The Goitiandia home was called Pagodixa. On Sundays, the family went to church in the mornings and then danced in the afternoon anywhere from two to three hours. Juan loved to dance and when in the USA attending Basque festivals one could see him dancing the Hota.
He attended school until he was 13 years of age. Juan worked for his uncle in the timber, cutting and thinning trees. He loved to Hunt game birds and fish in the local streams he loved the outdoors. Their way of mobility was walking or if lucky enough a bicycle. When Juan’s brother Jose / Joe came to the USA he left the bicycle to Juan. Juan rode bicycles almost every day working for Sun Valley and he liked the old bikes and you would always see him on a retired Sun Valley rental bike which was usually called by all the employees as Juan’s Bike.

Juan had a German Sheppard dog which was truly his dog. That dog did anything Juan asked him to do. He used to tell people at the bar, if they could take the drink off the bar without the dog stopping them, they could have the drink if not they had to pay for his drink. No one ever had a free drink with that bet. One Sunday morning Juan’s father Sebastian was running late for church and the family left without him. When Sebastian tried to leave for church, the dog stopped him in an aggressive manor. That day Sebastian was pinned in the house. Upon returning from church Sebastian was so mad he made Juan get rid of the dog to which he honored his father’s wishes. Juan was always an animal lover and you would see he and Verla visit zoo’s over the course of their marriage, with or without the kids or grandchildren.

Every year on the 22 of July, Juan’s family and relatives would gather once a year for holiday. It was a good time for the family with many a story being told.

Sebastian wanted a better life for his family as they were poor, so he came to the USA as a professional Sheep herder which the family thought was humorous as they did not have sheep. Sebastian paid for Joe to come to the USA and between Sebastian and Joe, they paid for Juan to come. Then they sent for their mother Maria.

Juan was seventeen when he came to the United States in 1963. He flew from Spain to New York, then to Salt Lake City, Utah, with the final destination Hailey, Idaho. He could not speak any English and when in Salt Lake he was asked where he was going so they could get him in the right direction and all he could say was SOONBALEY. The person said “Where the hell is SOONBALEY?” Someone told them it was probably Sun Valley. Juan did not like the plane as it was a small plane and a rough ride.

Juan hired on as a sheep herder with the Jones sheep company out of Paul and he trailed sheep in Soda Springs roughly a year. Later in life his in-laws use to tease him calling him “Sheepherder”. Juan said there was an American individual who called him sheepherder instead of his name and the guy himself happen to be a sheepherder.
Whenever a sheep camp passed through this area, he always went out to visit with the herders and became good friends with the ones who returned year after year. There are many times he would take Jess with him and they would go have a meal at the herders camp site and Jess would fall asleep in the sheep wagon while Juan and the guys gossiped about whatever topic they could find.
After herding sheep he went to work for Atkinson’s market. He liked the job but he said he had too many bosses. One boss would tell him to stock shelves and then a different would tell him to do something else. He felt like he was running in circles so he quit and went to work in Sun Valley for Union Pacific.
Juan worked 2 jobs when working for Sun Valley Company, his day job was working in the kitchen doing whatever they asked. He said one time that Walt Kapella (Chef) told him he needed to learn English so they kept sending him from kitchen to kitchen having to ask for items. Until he understood English better, he didn’t realize Walt was helping him to learn the language.
Juan worked for a total of 53 years at Sun Valley under Union Pacific, Janss Corp, ending with Sinclair Oil. Juan enjoyed going to the movies, as this also helped him learn English. He never missed a John Wayne movie and the westerns were his favorite.
Juan’s night job was working at the Christiana Restaurant doing anything he was instructed to do. Later Juan worked as a busboy while gaining many lifelong friends, whether they were clients or fellow employees from the restaurant. He worked at the Christi for over 30 years. Towards the end of his career at the Christi his son Scott worked there as well and Juan was proud his son followed in his footsteps.
When Juan first tried to court Verla, she always turned him down. So then he started showing up at her house and serenade her outside with the harmonica. It must have worked as she started dating him. Verla would babysit Corinne most evenings while Joann worked. While Verla babysat, Juan would play the Harmonica. Corinne thought he played it for her and she was going on the date not Verla. When the grand children were young they convinced Juan to breakout the harmonica and play it for them. Afterwards Sochie started carrying around her own harmonica and playing like grandpa.
Juan and Verla were married in Elko Nevada in 1966.
They lived in Ketchum, then Burley for 2 months, Juan hated Burley, and then back to Ketchum. Juan preferred living in Ketchum as it was close to work. When they moved to their current residence, it was considered in the country but still close for their daily routines
Juan did additional jobs to help earn money for the family. These jobs consisted of cutting firewood with his sons and extra yard work, thus giving him quality time with his boys.
Juan loved spending quality time with his family and watching his boys grow. In the summer it was water skiing at Red Fish Lake and Magic Reservoir.
Fishing by boat or on the bank, it did not matter as long as they were together. Juan always made it fun having races as who could catch the most fish with which fishing lour, Meps #2 was the go-to lour for Juan. When he, Fred and Charlie went fishing, they always razzed each other as to who was the better fisherman and Juan said he was the better fisherman and one time fished a bicycle out of the river.
Motorcycle riding started with a black Suzuki 50 street bike and he loved the freedom it gave Juan. From there he rode with his brother in-laws Fred Griggs, Charlie Gill, and Glen Branen. They took that black Suzuki all over from the mountain lakes to the desert flats. When Juan’s boys became old enough to ride, they all learned to ride that same bike. Who knows how many miles were put on that bike going in circles around their acre. The same happened in the winter time with snowmobiles.
About a year after Juan bought that bike he wanted a bigger one and one day he came home and told Verla he ordered a bigger bike. Verla told him to call and cancel the bike because if they bought the bike they would not have any money to pay the bills. He would not call up the dealer so Verla called and canceled the bike, so now we know who wore the pants in the family.
Juan was always interested in the boy’s jobs and would often go to their job sites to see what they were involved with. He would start by watching what they were doing and in the end always giving his two cents. Juan especially enjoyed seeing the houses Marcel built and the dirt work Scott did. Any chance he could get, he would climb in the equipment and work just to help out. He would move snow or drive truck it really did not matter as long as he was with his family.
Juan also enjoyed going camping with brother and sister-in-laws. Camping included motorcycle riding, boating, fishing, and playing cards. When the bike riding or fishing was over, the guys would settle down for an evening of playing pinochle and when they could not find a 4th they played 3 handed.
Their playing sometimes lasted into the wee-hours of the morning. Juan was good with numbers and caught on to card games easy.
Juan’s love of dancing continued when coming to the USA. He got his family involved with the Basque picnics and dancing. His children learned the Basque dancing and were involved with exhibition dances through-out the area. He even got his in-laws to attend the dances in the area.
Juan enjoyed his work and the people he worked with. Even when he had knee surgery, he would go into work every day to see what had been done on the grounds. His boss said he might as well come to work and give instructions from the office to the crew so he did.
The landscaping skills he learned from Sun Valley, he brought home to his yard. He always liked a mowed yard, pretty flowers and trees trimmed. When the family moved from the trailer court to the current residence, “Cheri said there goes her flowers” as dad had the flower boxes loaded into the truck.
He attended any events he could such as a school programs, family trips watching the grandchildren ski, swim or play ball. The boys decided to take their boat to Lake Powell for spring break one year. They all had a great time and Juan played many a hand of cards, some of the games Juan taught the grandkids and some games they taught him. Juan was not a huge fan of being in the canyon and was sure happy to see the marina when coming back.
Juan enjoyed babies and especially being with his granddaughters and nieces.
He really liked taking Mary to the gun club and teaching her how to shoot trap and score.
Juan’s granddaughter Samantha interviewed him for a 4-H project about The Trailing of the Sheep one year to which she received a special award for. He really enjoyed and thought it was special that she chose him to be the topic.
When his granddaughter Shea graduated from Navy boot camp, Juan and Verla traveled by train to Chicago to see her graduation. He liked seeing the sights from the train and people watching. He could sit anywhere and people watch. One of his favorite places to people watch was the boat ramp at Red Fish Lake.
One of the more recent items he spoke of was his trip to see Shea in Washington and touring the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier where she worked. Some of Shea’s co-workers commented how good his balance was as he climbed the stairs without hanging to the handrail. He loved hearing about her deployment and sea trials.
When Jasmine came along Juan was excited as there was a new baby in the family and he took any chance he could to hold her.
Juan enjoyed fishing with Kelby at the fish hatchery and watching him play T-ball.
Juan enjoyed meeting his granddaughters boyfriends and razzed them any chance he had.
Once the boys were out of the house Juan became involved with trapshooting and became the president of the Wood River Gun club. He always enjoyed shooting trap, not so much for the win but for the challenge. He liked to see how fast he could shoot the birds as they came out of the trap house and turn them into powder.
He traveled to bigger shoots to see how he faired against other areas. He wanted to shoot push his abilities.
He thought the trophies were nice but it was the challenge he really enjoyed. The comradery and friendships he made over the years was an added bonus.
He reloaded his own shells and made sure he had enough for the boys. He always had guns and shells where he went as he never knew what his plans were. Even on family trips he always watched out or knew where the gun club ranges were and thought it would be a fun stop.
Three years ago he had a triple heart bypass and came through with flying colors.
In the past 3 months Juan had a rough time but put up a good fight.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Juan Goitiandia, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, April 26, 2019

4:00 - 7:00 pm

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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Starts at 11:00 am

Interment will follow in the Hailey Cemetery.

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Everyone is invited to return to the Fellowship Hall at the Calvary Bible Church for a reception.

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Everyone is invited to return to the Fellowship Hall at the Calvary Bible Church for a reception.

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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