Donostia-San Sebastian. It isn’t’ easy to put in words what Grace was and the huge void that she leaves for those who knew her. She was a friend, a mother, and one of these people that you trust wholeheartedly, hard-working, meticulous in accounting and above all human, positive encouraging. Kate Camino and Lisa Corcostegui, two people who knew her well, wrote these lines in this week’s Astero that we reproduce and adapt here.
Born in San Juan Capistrano, CA to parents from Lapurdi and Navarre, Grace was the epitome of service and commitment to the Basque community and worked hard to perpetuate the Basque culture in the US. Besides serving as NABO's treasurer for 28 years (1987-2015), she also served her local Ontario Basque Club as its delegate for 32 years (1982-2014), not to mention her also holding office on its board for ten years as the club's secretary, vice-president, and president, at various times. Grace didn't know a stranger and always wanted to make newcomers feel welcomed at NABO meetings. Her ability to keep all of the NABO accounting straight was unprecedented, and her talent for tracking the smallest transactions goes unrivaled. Her institutional memory was also to be admired.
As a NABO officer, Grace represented the organization locally as well as internationally at the World Congress of Basque Collectivities in 2003. For all of her efforts, Grace was awarded NABO's Bizi Emankorra, or lifetime achievement award in 2006, and when she stepped down as treasurer in 2015, she was also honored at the Jaialdi NABO meeting. The Society of Basque Studies of America inducted her into its Hall of Fame in 2007.
We will miss seeing Grace and John on the dance floor at Basque events, and will miss her warm and friendly disposition. Her energy was infectious, and her smile remains engraved on our hearts.
Grace’s services will be held in Boise, Idaho with the rosary taking place at Summers Funeral Home on Thursday, October 12th at 7pm. Funeral mass will be at St. John’s Cathedral on Friday, October 13th at 10am. After the funeral, the family has extended an invitation to everyone to attend a reception at the Basque Center.
As a tribute to Grace’s commitment to her Basque heritage, her family has designated NABO’s Udaleku Fund supporting its Basque kids’ culture camp, or any Basque club of your choice for memorial donations.
On behalf of everyone in the US and Canadian Basque communities, as well as the entire Basque Diaspora, we extend our sincerest sympathies to John, Janice, Joanne, Louise and Linda and their families. Know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers. GB, Grace (Lacouague) Mainvil.
Grace’s obituary here.
-Interview with Grace and John Mainvil in EuskalKultura.com (2014)
-Grace and John interviewed by the Memoria Bizia Project (2015)
-Grace and another five women inducted into the SBSA Hall of Fame, in EuskalKultura,com (2007)
-Grace receiving NABO's Bizi Emankorra award along with Pierro Etcharren, in EuskalKultura.com (2006)
The following video was made in 2007 on the occasion of Grace's induction into the Society for Basque Studies in America's Hall of Fame celebrated in Ontario, Oregon: