Pierre Laurent Hegoas, 85, died Sunday, Dec. 9 at home with his family by his side.
He was born and grew up in the Pyrenees Mountains in the Basque Country of France in the small village of Arbonne. He was the third child in a family of four boys.
As a young man in the Basque Country, he apprenticed as a butcher and a baker. During World War II, he served in the French Army and was forced to drive trucks for the Nazis who had invaded and occupied France.
At the end of World War II, he was sent to America by his mother to join two brothers who’d left France in 1947. Not knowing a word of English, penniless, and owing a relative for his airfare, he landed in Los Angeles.
Mr. Hegoas began to work for Blue Star Farms where a brother was working and there he met his future wife, Trudy. They conversed using a small English/French dictionary. He attended night school, learned English, became a U.S. citizen, married Trudy, and had three children.
In 1957, the dairy in Downey was sold and the entire family moved to Oakdale. In 1965, he began Pierre Hegoas and Sons Livestock Hauling.
His family, companion Linda, and pets were the most important things in his life. He was proud of his Basque heritage but was probably even more proud that he was an American citizen. He was a member of the Los Banos Basque Club and enjoyed visiting with fellow Basque friends, drinking, eating, playing handball, and playing mus, a Basque card game.
He loved to fish and travel with his friend and ‘amour’ Linda until he was physically unable. He was also a great cook.
He is survived by his children, Susie (Mac) Agostini, Dennis (Tanya) Hegoas, Mitch Hegoas; brother-in-law, Roland (Mary) Enz; sisters-in-law, Kathy Waeny of Walnut Creek, Margaret Hegoas of Hendaye, France; his constant and loving companion of 12 years, Linda Kehoe; and two grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Trudy; father, Jean; mother, Veronique; and brothers, Rene and Jean.
A celebration of life will be at 11 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 17 at the Gene Bianchi Community Center, 110 S. Second Ave., Oakdale.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Community Hospice, 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto, CA 95356.