Learn Verde Valley history with talk at the Clemenceau

Don Godard and John Tavasci

Don Godard and John Tavasci

Come hear more about Verde Valley history on June 15 at the Clemenceau Museum, when John Tavasci Sr., former owner of the Clarkdale Dairy, will be reminiscing with his long time friend and local rancher Don Godard. The two will be talking about dairy farming, cattle ranching, trucking, busing and the changes they've seen over the past 60 years or so in our little corner of Arizona.

John Tavasci's parents arrived in Jerome from Italy in 1924, and soon after began dairy farming near Peck's Lake in Clarkdale. John was born in 1925 and remembers moving to the Clarkdale Dairy in 1928. By the age of 12, he was helping out on the farm, walking behind the plow. The dairy farm continued to grow, and through the late 1950s, delivering milk was a big business. The dairy business was sold in the 1960s; by that time there were 220 dairy cows. John went into cattle ranching and trucking, hauling both cattle and thousands of tons of hay. He then went into the school bus business and began busing Mingus High School students, a job he enjoyed so much, that he spent over 40 years at it, finally retiring at the age of 80, claiming that it was the interaction with the students that kept him young.

Cornville rancher, Don Godard also grew up in the Verde Valley and is no stranger to the Verde Historical Society and the Clemenceau Museum. It's Don who prepares the delectable meat for the Museum's annual Zeke Taylor BBQ in November and brings animals for a petting zoo for Early Settlers' Day in October.

The public is invited to attend the Tavasci Sr./Godard conversation, which promises to hold many fascinating glimpses into Verde Valley history. Their talk will follow a very brief general meeting of the Verde Historical Society, beginning at 1 p.m., Tuesday, June 15 in the gym of the Clemenceau School at the corner of Mingus and Willard avenues in Cottonwood.

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