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Jose A Egurbide
January 20, 1939 ~ June 23, 2023 (age 84) 84 Years Old
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Jose Antonio Egurbide, 84, passed away peacefully on Friday June 23, 2023 in Milford, Connecticut. Egurbide was born January 20, 1939 in Mutriku, Spain, to the late Jose and Irene Egurbide.
In 1953, at the young age of 14, Egurbide was offered a contract to play Jai Alai professionally in Havana, Cuba, setting in motion the start of one of the most prolific Jai Alai careers in the 20th century. Egurbide, endearingly known by friends and fans alike as “El Txato” for his prominent nose, enjoyed a 31-year career as a Jai Alai player, going from Cuba to Dania, Florida and then from Barcelona to all over the Basque Country and France before returning back to the United States in 1976 to play in Bridgeport and Milford Jai Alai.
Besides his incredible longevity, Egurbide's rare combination of grace, strength and power propelled him to the Pantheon of Jai Alai superstars, along with a select few other household names for multiple generations of fans of the sport. Egurbide continued to consistently dominate the front court right up until he retired in 1984 at age 45. Never one to allow injury to stop him, even after Egurbide tore his Aquiles tendon and was told he may never walk normal again (let alone play competitive Jai Alai), he rehabilitated for over a year and a half and, not only did he come back stronger than ever, but he won the 1971 World Championship of Jai Alai in France with fellow Mutriku native and ace backcourt player, Txurruka.
In the late early 80s, while playing in Bridgeport and Milford, Egurbide was still considered a formidable opponent by the next generation of superstar front court Jai Alai players. To this day, many Bridgeport and Milford faithful still remember the name EGURBI in their programs and the number 28 on the players’ roster. With a powerful serve and costado rebote, as well as unrivaled legs, Egurbide was also beloved for consistently playing with class and humility, something he exhibited both on and off the court, regardless of the outcome. After retiring in 1984, Egurbide became Milford Jai Alai’s player manager, a post he held until his retirement from the front office 16 years later, in 2000. In that position, Egurbide continued to mentor and impart his great love for the sport that defined his entire adult life to yet another generation of young Jai Alai players. Egurbide as a players’ manager was tough but fair. Part of the reason he won the admiration of all those he came in contact with, even those who disagreed with him.
Jose Antonio and Elisabeth Egurbide were married in Lezo, Spain in 1961 and they had four children. He leaves behind his beloved spouse of 62 years, Elisabeth, his sister Itziar Egurbide of Spain and three surviving children: Jose Antonio, Jr. in Los Angeles, California, Edurne in San Francisco, California and Xavier in Weston, Connecticut. Egurbide's oldest child, Cristina, passed away in 2017. Egurbide also leaves behind his eleven grandchildren Mikael, Kristen, Alex, Cristian, Lucas, Jakob, Gabriel, Olivia, Xavier, Kayla and Amelia, as well as one great-grandchild, Isla.
Services for Jose Antonio Egurbide are being held privately by Jose’s family. In lieu of flowers, please kindly consider a donation in Egurbide’s memory to the Jai Alai school in his hometown (Mutriku Danok) through the following GoFundMe link: