Clarence Minetti, a Santa Maria Valley legend and an icon of Santa Maria Style Barbecue, passed away peacefully on Monday night in the company of his family. He was 93 years old.
A statement from the Minetti family said, “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 and Rosalie Minetti 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.
A few years ago, when asked about the key to the Far Western Tavern’s enduring success, Mr. Minetti replied, “To last in this business, you have to like people and you have to serve great food. It’s that simple.” Click here for a full history of the Far Western Tavern.
Mr. Minetti is also remembered as a community leader, public servant, rancher and philanthropist. 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.
Click here for a Santa Maria Times story that elaborates on Mr. Minetti’s many accomplishments. We remember Mr. Minetti today as an exceptional man who did great things. He will be missed.