Clovis Way Of Life: Women Of Clovis

Though small in stature, pioneer journalist May Case was the most visible, informed woman in Clovis from 1919 to 1967. CONTRIBUTED BY CLOVIS MUSEUM

As we round out Women’s History Month, we would like to continue to honor outstanding women that have had pivotal roles in the city of Clovis. Let’s continue to shine the spotlight on these influential women.

May Case

During the 1920s and leading into the 1970s, if you saw a 4-foot-9 woman with square heeled shoes, a straw hat, a pencil and a small notebook, you’d meet May Case. 

Case was one of the most informed and visible women in Clovis. Case reported on the news and the personal activities that Clovis had to offer.

Born in Comanche County, Texas on Oct. 6, 1873, Case would move to Clovis in 1919. Joined by her husband Spurgeon Case, they would found The Clovis Independent. 

The Clovis independent ran for 20 years before it was sold in 1939. However, May would continue to hunt down stories and news in the Clovis community up until her death on Sept. 22, 1967.

In 1963, the Las Vegas Sun Newspaper published an article on May and wrote “Roughly, she is almost as big as a bar of soap after a hard day’s wash on the farm… but she is all woman!”

May would be nationally honored in 1964 as the oldest active newspaperwoman in the world at 75 years of age. Many described her as a “pint-sized, hell-on-wheels reporter.”

Carmela Delores Liberta (1938 – 2018)

Carmela Delores Liberta

Born on Oct. 5 1938, Carmela Liberta was the matriach of Luna Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant in Old Town Clovis. 

Carmela was an emigrate from Italy and fell in love with her husband Franco Liberta. At first, she and her family lived in New York but in 1969 moved to Clovis.

Camela’s impact has reached far beyond just feeding Clovis residents and visitors. Many residents learned life skills such as hospitality and service from Carmela through working at Luna’s.

On top of the life skills she taught, Carmela served on the Business Organization of Old Town (B.O.O.T) board. She often hosted the meetings at Luna’s and for 20 years was also in charge of the annual Christmas party at the Clovis Veterans Memorial District. 

When her husband Franco passed, Carmela and her friends started a women’s support group for widows and single women called New Beginnings. The group still meets today at Northpark Community Church. Sometimes, Carmela would even open her own doors to her home for women in need.

Today, the restaurant remains a local favorite and is still family-owned and operated by Carmela and Franco’s sons Bert and David Liberta.

Clovis City Councilmember Jose Flores with parents, Celia and Jose “Lupe” Flores. (Contributed by Jose Flores)

Celia Flores

Current Clovis mayor Jose Flores has a humbling history that runs throughout Clovis. And it starts with his mother, Celia Flores.

Celia is from the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi. She was a schoolteacher in Mexico but had ambitions of owning a business in the United States. Celia had taken a trip to Texas where eventually she became the nanny of a wealthy family in 1954.

This is where she would meet her husband, Jose Guadalupe “Lupe” Flores. Lupe was a farmworker of the family Celia nannied for. They fell in love and stayed in contact with love letters after Celia went back to Mexico.

Lupe left Texas in 1955 after hearing about a job opportunity in Clovis. Once he established himself, he married Celia and brought her back to Clovis.

The couple didn’t have much but still embodied their hard-working spirit. Celia Flores became a community organizer in Clovis’ developing Latino immigrant community. She was an active member of the Catholic group known Los Guadalupanos (The Guadalupe Society) and a leader in the local chapter of La Progressiva (The Progressive Society).

Eventually, leading to her dream of owning a business by opening her restaurant, “La Posada.” The restaurant opened in November 1978, served authentic home-style Mexican and would be a staple for the Clovis community. La Posada would close in 2015.

Seferina Herrera Franco (1916-2018) lived a rich and productive life. CONTRIBUTED BY CLOVIS MUSEUM

Seferina Herrera Franco

Seferina Herrera Franco was the first Hispanic woman to receive the honor of being inducted into the 1994 Clovis Hall of Fame.

Seferina was born on Aug. 26, 1916, and passed away in 2018. She was a loving, nurturing matriarch to five generations which extends to more than 300 family members.

Her family moved from Frontenac, Kansas to Clovis when Franco was at the age of three. Seferina left school after the fifth grade because, at the time, young girls needed to prepare for marriage by learning proper manners, cooking and housekeeping.

By the age of 23, Seferina would marry her husband Luis Franco. Traditionally, wives would not enter the workforce but Seferina had the desire to make some money. After working in the fields, the Francos traveled to Gardena, Calif. to manage a small restaurant owned by a cousin that became ill.

When the family returned, Seferina was established as an accomplished cook and remained determined to fulfilling her dream of opening a restaurant. 

After building a home on their property and a 20-by-20-foot structure for their restaurant.

The restaurant, Franco’s Taco House, would finally open on Clovis Day in 1958. The restaurant was only “take out” since it was located in a residential area. After a few years, the city granted permission to install three tables.

The business grew with Clovis and in 1973 they increased the seating capacity to 85 by expanding into their family living room. They remodeled again in 1991 and increased capacity to 135. The restaurant was famous for its family’s salsa and tamales.

After serving Clovis for 50 years, the oldest Mexican restaurant in Clovis closed in March of 2008.