Clarence Minetti with daughter Susan Righetti

Well-known local businessman and founder of Guadalupe’s Far Western Tavern, Clarence Minetti, has passed away peacefully Monday night (3/28/11) in the company of his family. He was 93 years old.

Minetti was involved in a head-on vehicle accident, Friday afternoon, on Brown and Betteravia Roads. The California Highway Patrol says a female driver in the other vehicle had attempted to pass a big rig on double yellow lines and crashed into Minetti’s vehicle head-on. Minetti was taken to Marian Medical Center.

The Minetti family has issued the following statement: Clarence is our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, and a friend to many. Our sorrow today is tempered by the joy of the exemplary life he lived. His legacy of humility, hospitality, cowboy ethics and service to others is an inspiration to all. We appreciate the outpouring of love and support that we have received over the past several days. We are so grateful to his caregivers and the community for the kindness and compassion shown to him.

Clarence Minetti was born in Cayucos on February 8, 1918 and moved with his parents to Guadalupe in 1925. He graduated from Santa Maria High School in 1935. After school, he worked in ranching and dairy operations. He married Rosalie Maretti in 1940 and learned the cattle business from her father, Charles Maretti, owner of Corralitos Ranch in Guadalupe. When Mr. Maretti passed away in 1947, Clarence became responsible for leading the family ranching operation. Clarence and Rosalie later established the Far Western Tavern in Guadalupe in 1958 along with Rosalie’s cousin, the late Richard Maretti, and his wife Jean. The restaurant remains a landmark of Santa Maria Valley hospitality and Santa Maria Style Barbecue. For a richer look at Minetti’s history with Far Western Tavern, click here.

During his lifetime of service, Clarence served as the arena director of the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo from 1953 to 1986; general chairman of the Santa Maria Elks Rodeo from 1967 to 1993; president, director and member of the Guadalupe Joint Union School Board from 1948 to 1964; Santa Barbara County Grand Juror in 1964 and 1974; and other positions. His honors include Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce Citizen of The Year (1975); Santa Barbara County Fair Livestock Man of The Year (1985); Honorary Vaquero of Old Spanish Days Fiesta (1988); Honorary Member of Los Rancheros Visitadores (1959 – forward); COLAB Family Heritage Award (2003); Marian Medical Center Foundation Celebrate Philanthropy! Honoree (2009); and others.

The Minetti family is unavailable for additional comment at this time. A date for a service at Dudley Hoffman has not yet been set.