Pierre (Pete ) Gratien Salla
Pierre (Pete ) Gratien Salla
Pierre (Pete ) Gratien Salla passed away at the age of 84 on February 18, 2019.  

Pete was born in Ahaxe, France in the Basque Pyrenees on April 27, 1934 to Jean and Catherine Salla. He was forced to grow up at a young age, herding sheep at the age of 10 by himself in the mountains of the Basque Pyrenees.  

He received his education in France graduating 2nd in his class. In June of 1955, Pete was drafted into the French army and required to serve 18 months. Pete spent much of his time in Germany. At the end of his service, rather than being sent home, he was shipped to North Africa where he served 18 more months as a sniper. 

Able to speak Spanish, French and German, Pete was often asked to work as a translator. He received the commemorative medal of security and law enforcement operations in North Africa in 1957. With his army career complete, Pete traveled to Paris where he worked as a plumbing apprentice.

Unbeknownst to Pete it was in Paris that he gained his plumbing knowledge especially his work with boilers.  In 1959, he decided to follow his sister and brother-in-law to Winnemucca, Nevada where he would make his home for the next 60 years. 

Upon arriving in Winnemucca, he began working for CB Browns as a plumber’s apprentice.  Within 5 years, he took advantage of the “land of opportunity” and started Pete Salla Plumbing and Heating business.  For the next 45 years, he plumbed the majority of homes and businesses in Humboldt County.  It was during these years that he became known as the plumber in the red truck. 

He married Carla Cecchi on October 5, 1963. Together they had three children, Marie-Jeanne, Jean Pierre and Pauline. 

He was a member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church and the Winnemucca Basque Club where he served as president, vice president and NABO delegate for many years. 

He served as Grand Marshall of the Basque festival and took great joy in promoting the Basque culture especially to the children of the club teaching them the Basque card game Mus. It was paramount for Pete to instill the importance of the Basque culture to his own children.  This was evident in the numerous trips the family made to the Basque country.  

He enjoyed and participated in the Humboldt County 4-H Livestock show and sale as both participant in the early years of his children and as an audience member in the years there after.  He never missed a livestock sale.  This program held a special place in his heart. 

Pete worked hard for the majority of his life and he instilled this work ethic to those around him, especially his children.  

However, Pete knew the importance of hard work had to be balanced with, friends, food and family and was always ready for a good family dinner where he would share his stories of the old country. Pete did not have many hobbies; he was too busy working either in his plumbing business or raising his sheep.  

He loved playing Mus, telling stories, working with his sheep, and providing for his family.  

Pete is preceded in death by his mother, Catherine Salla, his father, Jean Salla, his brothers, Paul and Jean-Pierre Salla, and his sister Elizabeth Salla.  

He is survived by his sister; Maiye Etchegary; daughters, Marie-Jeanne (Jeff) Dawson; Pauline (Alan) Smith as well as his son, Jean Pierre Salla; grand-children: Christian, Gratian, Raistlin and Jericho and numerous nieces and nephews in the Basque Country. 

Services will be Friday, March 15th at 10:30 am, location to be announced. The family would like to thank the staff of Lovelock nursing home, Winnemucca Beehive, and Larios Arms and the countless individuals who visited, helped and asked about our beloved Aita. 

Pete will forever be remembered for his beautiful voice that he shared with so many, his love of Basque cooking, his subtle yet keen wit, and his devoted and unconditional love to his family. 

 We love you, Dad. Maite zaitut aita. In honor of Pete, please make a donation to the Tri County Jr. Livestock Show, Attention Scholarship Fund, PO Box 405, Winnemucca, NV 89446.