Clovis Gears up for Hall Of Fame Gala, Part II

The 2019 Clovis Hall of Fame honors Franco and Carmela Liberta for the Spirit of Clovis Award. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

On Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, Clovis will recognize and thank those who have, in their own unique way, given of themselves, inspired us, and made Clovis a special place to call home.   

Join the celebration

Cocktail hour for the Hall of Fame Gala begins at 5 p.m. at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District. Festivities, featuring a delicious catered dinner and entertaining program, will start at 6 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased in person at Scoops, Soups & More (433 Pollasky Ave) in Old Town and to buy online, just visit

New inductees include:

Service To Veterans – Jim Anderson

Jim Anderson’s life has been one of service.

He served his fellow veterans both locally and nationally and received much recognition for his contributions. In fact, in 2014, he was selected as the Citizen Soldier of the Year at Fresno City College and in 2018, was awarded the Presidential Medal from the Association of United States Army.

Anderson is a member of several veterans organizations, including the Choctaw Code Talkers Association, the Choctaw Veterans Association, Vietnam Veterans of America and AMVETS Post 98.

Currently, Anderson is a Veterans Service Officer, assisting veterans in filling out VA claims and serves in the Clovis VFW Post 3225 Honor Guard. His accomplishments include the Commander of Clovis VFW Post 3225 and starting a veterans program at Avenal State Prison for incarcerated veterans. He also served as chairman for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day ceremony at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District.

That’s not all.

Anderson also served his community through Rotary International for over twenty years. While in the Rotary, he held every office there, including President and District positions. He was awarded Rotary’s highest honor, the Paul Harris Award multiple times.         

For four decades, Anderson and his wife, Fran, volunteered with Habitat for Humanity. They have also donated their time and talents to the Fresno Rescue Mission, Marjaree Mason Center, Valley Children’s Hospital, and many charity and church events.

The couple has three daughters and four grandchildren.       

Originally from Oklahoma, Anderson came from a large family that was proud of their Choctaw and Chickasaw heritage. After graduating from high school, he moved to Fresno and graduated from Fresno City College in 1963, then briefly attended Fresno State.

He answered the call to serve our country in 1965 when he was drafted into the US Army. After serving two years, one of which was in Vietnam assigned to a combat engineer company, he was discharged in 1967 as a Specialist E-5.

For a time he lived in the Los Angeles area working as a drywall contractor, before returning to Fresno State and completing his Psychology degree.

Jim believes that his service to our country, his education and Rotary experiences, all came together to allow him to serve veterans.

Founders – Gage Family

Residents of Clovis since 1940, George and Margaret Gage lived in a house at the southeast corner of Pollasky and Sierra. The home was small – about 900 square feet – and housed eight children – four boys and four girls – and their parents.

“We never thought about space,” said Tom Gage, the youngest of the eight children. “We had what we needed. My mom was very organized. The house is still there…the owners fixed up really nice.”

In 1945, George Gage bought the Chapman Drug Store, located at Clovis Avenue and Fifth Street, and renamed it Gage Drug Store. The store sold typical drug store products, and the soda fountain/lunch counter became a popular meeting place for high school kids.

The store included a pharmacy; George was known for “never turning down anyone who needed a prescription filled, especially if it were for a child.” Regardless of the time of day, and he frequently got late-night calls, his focus was the needs of the customer. Payment details would be worked out later.

In 1952, George ran for the Clovis City Council. He was elected and served until 1960.

Gage Drug Store closed in 1965 after corporate stores arrived in Clovis. But that didn’t end George’s involvement with downtown. He worked for other pharmacies so he could maintain contact with folks. Several times a week, he quietly took home-cooked meals to those in need, something some members of his own family were not aware of his doing at the time.

Following George’s passing in 1979, Margaret was an active participant in her twenty-two grandchildren’s lives. She also did a lot of volunteer work for the community, church, and Saint Agnes Hospital. In 1996, she received the Benemerenti Award from Pope Paul II for a lifetime of service to the church.

Margaret passed away in 2002.

“George and Margaret’s purpose in life was to be of service to God, family and their fellow man,” said Tom. “They were unassuming, humble people who would have felt privileged and honored to receive this award. They loved Clovis and were grateful to raise their family here in this great town.”

Spirit of Clovis: Franco & Carmela Liberta

The Liberta Family was a gift from Italy to Clovis.

Franco and Carmela immigrated to the United States separately in 1947, met, married and started their family in New York. They were determined to adapt to their new country, work hard, and raise their three sons.

Due to health reasons, the young family moved to Clovis in 1969. Soon afterward, they opened their popular authentic Italian eatery, Luna Pizzeria, and Italian Restaurant. Today the business is a community favorite and is run by sons, sons Bert and David Liberta. 

The delicious food, genuine warmth, and family atmosphere earned the restaurant many local awards over the years for “Best Italian Food.” It was also where young adults could get jobs and learn about hospitality and work ethics.

Always strongly supportive of their God, church, and community, the Libertas helped fundraise for many school and community activities, including for the Clovis High School band’s performance at President Ronald Reagan’s inauguration and the construction of Clovis High’s Lamonica Stadium.

After Franco passed away in 1995, Carmela continued her involvement with the community. She served on the Business Organization of Old Town (B.O.O.T.) board and helped struggling women.

Along with a group of friends, she started a group called New Beginnings and even opened her home to women in need.

In 2003 Carmela and her daughter, Maryellen Willis, opened a women’s clothing and accessory store, Nonnie’s House Boutique in Downtown Clovis. The shop is named after Carmela, known by her grandchildren as “Nonnie.” 

In 2018, Carmela passed away after a long battle with cancer.

Today, the legacy of Franco and Carmela Liberta lives on in those they helped and the community they served.