Anna Oyhenart passed away peacefully in Mission Viejo, California, on September 15, 2023, at age 95. She was born in the Basque village of Helette in the south of France on August 12, 1928. She spent her childhood in Helette with her parents, Jean and Marianne Istillart, her sister, Veronique, and brother, Etienne. Anna later moved to Biarritz to help her sister and brother-in-law with their hotel. She talked about how much she enjoyed her life in Biarritz working hard, spending time with guests, and enjoying evenings on the boardwalk and beach. In May 1958, Anna married Jean, who had returned to Biarritz after spending some time in America and in July 1959, the two decided to return to America. They started their new lives together in Southern California where they welcomed their daughter, Eliane in January 1960. Jean and Anna were active members of the Basque community in Southern California and were proud proprietors of the French & Basque Restaurant in Hacienda Heights, which they co-owned with Jean’s younger brother and wife and later family friends. After selling the restaurant, Anna continued to work helping friends who also owned a Basque restaurant in nearby La Puente.
One of Jean’s and Anna’s proudest moments was becoming naturalized citizens of the United States in 1966. Anna loved life in California, spending time with friends in the Basque community and making new friends through their restaurant. Hospitality was natural to her, she loved engaging and interacting with people and making them feel at home with plenty of food, drink, and laughter. Anna and Jean were happily married for 55 years…they enjoyed traveling which included annual fishing trips to Bishop, exploring California, and returning to France and Spain to spend time with family and friends. They were both thrilled when they became beloved and cherished grandparents to two beautiful granddaughters. Anna is preceded in death by her husband, Jean. She is survived by her daughter, Eliane, son-in-law, Joe Bruketta, and her granddaughters, Danielle and Lauren.
Anna (our Ama, Amatchi and dear friend) you will remain forever in our hearts…