It is hard to believe that it has been a year since Gurutzi passed on, leaving a huge gap behind her.
Gurutzi was highly enterprising. She worked tirelessly right up to the end; she spurred us on and was an example to all of us lucky enough to work with her. She was a trailblazer in many areas and, thanks to her persistence, endeavour and work, she managed to carve a niche in a cultural world which was practically closed to women.
She began to work as a secretary when she was very young. Yet in her quest to continue learning, she attended Deusto University after passing the entrance exam for people over 25. Gurutzi studied sociology and graduated in 1975. Her long career in the world of ethnography focused on two research areas: The Atlas Etnográfico de Vasconia [Ethnographic Atlas of the Basque Country] ― devised by José Miguel de Barandiaran― which she led and coordinated with Manterola; and the study on the chapels of Bizkaia, published in three volumes in 1987, after visiting all the province’s towns and villages. Later on, in 1996, her PhD thesis was based on that research and it was published as Origen y significación de las ermitas de Bizkaia [Origin and Meaning of the Chapels of Bizkaia] in 1999.
In fact, that was one of the fields where Gurutzi shone, researching the chapels, the invocations, celebrations, costumes, ties with the neighbourhood, brotherhoods and the social organisation around them.
She also wrote a great deal on other subjects for different magazines and books, and was an active member of their editorial boards.
Gurutzi was a member of several institutions. Co-founder of the Labayru Foundation and director of the Ethnography Department and editor of the Etniker Bizkaia magazine; Deputy Secretary of Eusko Ikaskuntza and Head of the Anthropology-Ethnography Section; member of the boards of the Basque Museum of Bilbao, of the José Miguel de Barandiaran Foundation and of the Durango Museum of Art and History.
Gurutzi, a good friend, mountaineer, who loved her family and her inner circle. a dreamer but realistic, and passionate about Basque culture. In a nutshell, one of a kind! We will always remember her smile and happiness.