Florida “Flora” Appalonia (Gilardi) Fornara was born April 18, 1908, on a cold, snowy day at Maxton, Yavapai County, Arizona Territory, near the Senator Mine. Her mother, Margherita (Mariani) Gilardi, stated that snow was coming through the cracks in the cabin, falling on her chest as she was in labor. Flora’s father Eliseo was working at the Senator Mine.

On October 25, 1924, at the age of sixteen, she married Giovanni “Bob” Battista Fornara in a double-ring ceremony with her sister, Leonita, and soon to be brother in-law Constantino Savoini, in Prescott.

Flora and Bob lived in Cottonwood, Arizona, after their marriage. Their sons, Charles Albert, Louis John and George David, were born in the Verde Valley.  Bob bought part of the Verde District Dairy. In the 1930s, Flora was suffering from severe asthma and allergies, aggravated by the smoke and fumes from the Clarkdale smelter. Therefore, they decided to move to Prescott where the air was cleaner.

Flora and the children moved to Prescott in 1939 with some of the other family members. She lived in her mother’s house on South Cortez Street while Bob stayed for a couple of years in the Verde Valley to sell his property. The family owned the Sanders Dairy in Prescott before they bought the Neumand property on Hassayampa Trail – today it is the White Spar Road. There the “Big House” was built, and they all moved in on July 4, 1941.

Flora and Leonita spent their days cleaning the Big House and preparing meals for the family of fourteen - six adults and eight children. Four households were combined in the Big House. Cleaning this house meant flipping mattresses every week, washing clothes, hanging them on the line to dry and ironing everything. The parquet floor had to be polished on hands and knees. Each dish had to be scalded in hot water and washed. Everyone had responsibilities; they all worked hard.

Flora was also an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Sacred Heart Altar Society and Catholic Daughters. In addition, she was a member of the Republican Women of Prescott.

Flora died in November 18, 1998. She is buried beside her husband in the family plot at Mountain View Cemetery.

Flora’s mother, Margherita (Mariani) Gilardi, and her sisters, Elvezia (Gilardi) Fornara and Leonita (Gilardi) Savoini, are also honored in the Territorial Women’s Memorial Rose Garden.

Donor: Anna Mary (Fornara) Olsen, niece, June 2006
Photo Located: RGC MS-39, Box F, F-Fornara, Florida
Updated: 7/16/2015, D. Sue Kissel