John Maurice Laxalt ’50, beloved son, brother, uncle, great-uncle and loyal friend, passed away peacefully in his Carson City residence on September 15, 2011 at the age of 85. Laxalt had recently moved to his original home town after having lived in Las Vegas for the past several years. At the time of his death, he was with his sister, nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews. Laxalt was born Aug. 23, 1926, in Reno. He was the fourth of six children of Therese and Dominique Laxalt, immigrants from the Basque region of France who came to the United States in the early 1900’s. John’s siblings were Senator Paul Laxalt ’44 (born in 1922), the late Robert ’45 (1923), Suzanne (1925), Marie (1928) and the late Peter ’52 (1931). The children were raised in Carson City. John attended Carson High School where he received a marvelous education under the tutelage of educators like English teacher Grace Bordewich. John, being a fabulous athlete, took time from his studies to play all manner of sports, including tennis, football and boxing. John’s contemporaries say that it was in basketball that he excelled in particular. In the summers, he and his brothers caddied at Glenbrook Golf Course near the south shore of Lake Tahoe. He graduated from Carson High in 1944, whereupon he entered the United States Navy. World War II was raging, and before he knew it, John was in combat action in the Pacific, including a stint in Okinawa. At the conclusion of the war, John entered the University of Nevada-Reno and joined the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. After one year, he transferred to Santa Clara University, where his brothers, Paul and Robert, had attended and where little brother, Peter, would later enroll. After graduating from Santa Clara, John travelled to Washington, D.C., to attend Georgetown University Law School, where he eventually earned his law degree. While in law school, he worked for the legendary Nevada Senator Pat McCarran who was then co-hairman of the Joint Committee on Foreign Economic Cooperation (and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee). John travelled the world extensively on behalf of the senator and the committee. Senator McCarran was an immensely respected figure in the Laxalt household, having frequented Momma Laxalt’s Basque restaurant in Carson City at the height of his power. Throughout his adult life, John maintained an avid interest in politics, government and international affairs. When Paul ran for lieutenant governor in 1962, he admittedly knew virtually no one in Southern Nevada. John, who was practicing law at Lake Tahoe at the time, selflessly (and courageously) volunteered to move to Las Vegas for the campaign. John resigned from the Democrat Party in June 1962 after Paul had filed for the office. He said at the time: "In the Laxalt family there are Republicans, Democrats and nonpartisans. We have always respected each other’s right to our own political beliefs. But in this instance, my first loyalty is to my brother, Paul." John returned to Washington, D.C. in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the period during which Paul served in the U.S. Senate. John opened a government and business consulting business, where he advised domestic and international clients on how to navigate the treacherous waters of Washington, D.C. Paul was grateful to have John in the same town, as he always considered John to be a source of sage advice and as someone whose judgment he trusted and valued. One of John’s favorite occasions was attending Senator Laxalt’s annual Lamb Fry dinner in Georgetown, where about 100 Nevadans and Washingtonians joined together to celebrate the Laxalts’ Basque and western heritage. Although John was a man of the world and had travelled to every corner of the Earth, it was appropriate that he passed from this world in his hometown, Carson City. From the day he was born until his final breath, John was, first and foremost, a son of Nevada. He will be dearly missed. He was preceded in death by his father, Dominique (1971); mother, Therese (1978); and brothers, Robert (2001) and Peter (2010). John is survived by sisters, Suzanne of Carson City, and Marie Bini of Santa Clara; brother, Paul of McLean, Va.; and numerous nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.

08 Nov 2018