Yvonne Suzanne Etcheveste – May 09, 1931 – January 08, 2018
Yvonne was born to Etienne and Jeanne Zubiri on May 09, 1931 in Aldudes, France. She lived a quiet and simple life until the Nazi occupation of France during World War II. She often spoke of the atrocities they experienced in her small town and the fear that replaced the peaceful life they had previously known. Eventually, the war ended and life went back to normal but Yvonne never forgot that time and personal freedom in all aspects of life was an ideal she cherished and strived to achieve and maintain in her own life.
She met her future husband Raymond Etcheveste who also had experienced the atrocities of WWII by fighting for the French army, being captured and living in prisoner camps both in Germany and Morocco. He also had a desire to seek a better life in a place where freedom was a cherished way of life. Raymond immigrated to the United States on a sponsored sheep contract where he worked as a sheepherder for 3 years. Once that contract was fulfilled he sent for Yvonne who immigrated to the United States with a sponsored job as a maid in a hotel in Susanville, California. They married and started their journey towards that new, better life! Their only child, Jacqueline, was born in Pomona, California where they now lived. Raymond worked in the dairies in the Chino area and Yvonne ran a motel they purchased nearby.
In 1962 they purchased the original Basque Cafe, an established Basque restaurant in the east side of Bakersfield, California. This was the beginning of the next chapter of their lives. They both became American citizens, purchased their dream business and lived their lives as proud Americans but still retaining their French Basque heritage and culture and sharing it with others as well! Eleven years later they relocated to a larger facility on Union Ave (Saddle & Sirloin) and renamed the restaurant, Chateau Basque. Raymond and Yvonne divorced in 1980 and Raymond retired and passed away later in Northern California. Yvonne continued to run the restaurant with her daughter Jacki. She met David Gilliland a contractor working in Bakersfield. David left the construction industry and joined with Yvonne and Jacki to run the Chateau Basque until it closed its’ doors in August 2000.
Yvonne’s passion was cooking for others and providing not only a delicious memory but also a memorable experience as well. She lived to serve others and the restaurant was her way of sharing her Basque culture along with her passion for great cuisine! She was always known as ” The hardest working woman in Bakersfield ” but it was truly a ” labor of love”!
She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2016 and it quickly took over in a matter of two years! She lived her final years after closing the restaurant in the same quiet, simple way she began her life so many years before. She achieved that “better life” she so desired and she lived it on her terms! It was a long, productive life; a life well lived. She will be missed.
She is survived by her daughter Jacki Etcheveste, her brother Jean Pierre (Pampy) Arretche, her two sisters Danielle (Dany) Osowiecki and Christianne (Kiki) Gillette, her long- time partner David Gilliland and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the Parkinson’s Foundation