Territorial Women's Memorial Rose Garden

Elvezia was the youngest of the three daughters of Eliseo and Margherita Mariani Gilardi. She was born on June 8, 1910, in a rooming house on the northwest corner of Granite and Gurley streets in Prescott. Her early years were spent in the Prescott area.

She attended Washington Elementary School in Prescott until the family moved to Clarkdale in 1922. She graduated from eighth grade at Clemenceau Public School.

Elvezia attended high school, participating in sports (much to her mother’s disapproval) and enjoying her school days. She was distracted, however, by Angelo Fornara. He was around frequently; her mother became the matchmaker and coerced Elvezia into marring him. She was only 16 when they married in the Immaculate Heart Catholic Church in Clemenceau. The newly married couple continued to live in the Verde Valley, operating a dairy along with the family.

Elvezia’s two children, Anna and Robert, were born while she was living in Cottonwood. Her father died in 1929, leaving Margherita a widow. Shortly thereafter, the families gave up individual homes and began a communal living arrangement. Margherita, her three daughters, their husbands, and their children shared the family home.

In 1942, Elvezia and Angelo separated. She continued to live in the Big House and raised her two children surrounded by her loving, hard-working family.

Elvezia became a fulltime working partner in the dairy operation, and in the Hassayampa Market when it opened in 1946. She bottled and delivered milk, worked in the market as chief cashier during the day and, in the evenings, she kept the books. She did everything except milk the cows!

Elvezia maintained this pace until 1979, when the market closed, and she retired. She continued as secretary-treasurer of the Hassayampa Market, Inc., overseeing the rentals owned by the corporation.

She was a very positive person with a cheery disposition and a ready smile. She loved children and opened her arms to those who came to the Big House or the market. She was a member of the Republican Women of Prescott, Sacred Heart Church and Catholic Daughters.

She was active until her untimely death on February 9, 1995, from cancer. Elvezia Gilardi Fornara was buried in the family plot at Mountain View Cemetery after a funeral at Sacred Heart Church.

Elvezia’s mother, Margherita Mariani Gilardi and her sisters Florida Gilardi Fornara and Leonita Gilardi Savoini and also commemorated in the Rose Garden.

Donor: daughter, Anna Mary Fornara Olsen
June 2006

Additional documentation and photographs may be available in the Sharlot Hall Museum Archives and Library.