Ralph Barrutia

Mass of Christian burial : Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Brewster, 12:00 noon, Nov. 9.



Ralph Barrutia, 91, was born to Cipriano and Juanita Barrutia (Mandiola) in November 1927 in Grandview, Idaho.  His parents had immigrated to America from Basque Country Spain in 1922.

Ralph’s childhood was spent on his Dad’s sheep ranches in Grandview and Mountain Home.  He spent his teenage summers working in the family business as the camp cook in the mountains.  Their 4,000 head sheep herd moved frequently, and their camp moved with them. He was responsible for moving the food and cooking gear using a horse pack string; then having meals ready by cooking over a campfire. This provided a few unintended mountain rodeos with a steep learning curve about horses and methods. Times were tough during the recovery years following the Great Depression, so life was very basic.

Ralph graduated from Mountain Home High School in 1946 and went one semester at the University of Idaho between 1948-49.  He played on the high school football team and was a lifelong football fan.

In 1950 Ralph was drafted into the U.S. Army. He married Georgia Elguezabal just before reporting for basic training in Maryland. He served 14 months active duty in the Korean War as a heavy equipment and tank mechanic in Pusan, Soule, Chunchon and the 38th parallel.

His career as a Hydroelectric Powerhouse Operator started in 1952 in Idaho with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. In 1959 he moved to larger power plants being built on the Columbia River in Washington.  He was part of the startup crews on Priest Rapids, Wanapum and Wells Dams, working his way up to Chief Operator and retiring from Douglas Co. P.U.D. as an Operations Supervisor in 1986.

He then worked 4-years in consulting with Bechtel Engineering doing start up and automation of small hydro plants.  He worked on projects in Vermont, West Virginia, and California. 

He was always busy building a camper, their home, cabinets and furniture, planting and managing their apple orchard, working with the local irrigation district to solve problems and actively maintained the Catholic Church and its grounds. He and Georgia have made Brewster their home for the last 52 years.

Ralph was an avid outdoorsman who regularly went camping, hunting, fishing and firewood cutting in the mountains.  He was skilled in mechanics and electrical work thus maintaining all his own farm equipment and vehicles.  

He and Georgia enjoyed traveling and spent 16 winters snow-birding in Arizona. They visited numerous national parks along the way. They made trips to Spain, Venezuela, Mexico and Canada.

Ralph was proceeded in death by his parents and two older infant sisters. 

He is survived by 2 brothers and families, his loving wife Georgia of 69 years, their 3 sons and wives, Arsen (Holly), Gene (Doreen), Rich (Bobbi); 8 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren.

Visitation Friday, Nov. 8 from 3-7 p.m.

Mass of Christian burial at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Brewster at 12:00 noon. Saturday, Nov. 9. 

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