BOISE - A legend...

That's one of the terms being used by friends and family to describe Boise's Joe Goicoechea, who passed away December 30 at the age of 95.

Joe was one of hundreds of Idahoans who signed on with Morrison-Knudsen in 1941 to help build a U.S. air base on tiny Wake Island in the Pacific.

Hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Wake Island was attacked - and Joe was one of thousands to be captured and thrown into a Japanese concentration camp.

Joe was one the survivors who returned home four years later.

At the unveiling of a wWake Island monument a few years ago, Joe spoke about the tribute.

"It means an awful lot since it shows respect to our people that was unknown," he said. "When we came home from prison camp, hell, no one knew anything about us."

Joe went back to work for M-K. He helped build the Morrison Center, Bronco Stadium, two Boise River bridges and more.

He and his wife went on to have five children and remained active in the local Basque and Catholic communities right up until his death.

A vigil is scheduled for Wednesday night at 7 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Boise. Funeral services will be at 10:30 Thursday morning.