Basque government mourns Cenarrusa, official to attend Idaho services

Lehendakari Iñigo Urkullu, the Basque president, expressed “great sorrow” at the passing of former Idaho Secretary of State Pete Cenarrusa, whose parents immigrated from Spain to Idaho early in the 20th century.

In a news release, the autonomous government called Cenarrusa a “great friend and tireless supporter of the Basque Country and of the Basque people in the United States.”

Cenarrusa spent decades pressing U.S. officials to support Basque language, culture and political autonomy, as well as peace talks between ETA and the Spanish government and a referendum on independence.

Ander Caballero, the delegate of the Basque Country in the U.S., will be in Boise on Thursday and Friday to attend services for Cenarrusa, who died Sunday at age 95.

The celebration of Cenarrusa’s life, which included three terms as speaker of the Idaho House, begins Wednesday at Summers Funeral Home in Boise, 1205 W. Bannock St. The public may pay their respects from noon to 6 p.m.

On Thursday, Cenarrusa will lie in state at the Capitol, from noon to 7 p.m. At 7:30 p.m., a vigil will be held at St. John’s Cathedral, 775 N. 8th St. in Boise.

At 10 a.m. Friday, the Rev. Thomas Faucher will preside at a funeral service at St. John’s. A reception will follow at the Basque Center, at 6th and Grove streets Downtown.

Cenarussa will be buried at 11 a.m. Saturday at Bellevue Cemetery.

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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