ELIZABETH PINKERTON

Last month, the Rancho Murieta Board of Directors honored Antonio Gusman for his contributions to the beginning of the Ranch Murieta community. His story goes back to the days when this was of the Granlees’ turkey ranch.

Antonio’s son Tony and daughter Jo were at the event and talked about their father. Others who were there to remember Mr. Gusman were Susan Miller, Alison Brannen, Caitlin Brannen, David Lema, Jerry Ortner, Kim Gusman, Scott Anthony, Susan Snyder, Jon Snyder, Ted Hart, Dixie Hart, Carole Sacré-Kramer, Ron Svien, Gail Bullen, Rod Hart, John Seng, and Marina Betschart. I was there as well, and it was a wonderful event!

Ron Svien, General Manager of the country club, welcomed everyone and told about the purpose of the celebration.

Tony Gusman Jr. and Jo Gusman shared childhood memories of growing up on Art and Josephine Granlees’ turkey ranch, and later on the Artz & Ellis cattle ranch. They told about AFL-CIO Operating Engineers purchasing the land and the International Heavy Equipment Training Center. They also told about the start of the Rancho Murieta Golf Course and the Country Club.

This is from Jo: “My dad loved this land. It was like another one of his children.  He loved getting up very early in the morning so that he could go out and walk around the ranch. He said that one of the first words he learned in English was ‘okay.’ He said, ‘okay’ every time he was asked to learn something new – turkey farming, cattle ranch foreman, how to operate heavy equipment at AFL-CIO Operating Engineers Heavy Equipment Training Center. He was the RMCC construction supervisor, assistant grounds keeper, assistant golf course superintendent, and the golf course superintendent.

“The history here at Rancho Murieta has my dad’s thumbprints all around it. The inspiration for the flower gardens around the trees came from my mom and dad. When my parents built their first home (in Elk Grove), my mom wanted flower gardens around each one of the trees and flower pots hanging from the branches.

“Rod Hart shared that his wife had also worked at the Rancho Murieta Golf Course with Dad.  He shared that it was her job to keep the flower gardens and hanging flower pots around the clubhouse watered and fresh.  He said that his wife loved that job and loved my dad.”   

The Gusmans were from the small town of Atoyac, Mexico. Jo shares this story: “There is a beautiful gazebo in the middle of the plaza. When we built our home in Elk Grove, my mom wanted a gazebo in the backyard, just like the one in Atoyac.  After they built their gazebo, dad suggested they build a gazebo at the top of the hill off Jackson Highway, near the front entrance of Rancho Murieta, and they did!”

 Jo explained that David Lema’s interview with her and the oral history of her family continues her father’s legacy.

“My father’s spirit is very much here with us today. And Marina, sitting next to me, her parents were my parents’ best friends. We were just talking about how every time we come here, we get a little emotional. There is something about the land here – there’s something very special here.

“I just want to thank everyone for doing this for my dad. Thank you!”

Tony Gusman thanked the RMCC Board for putting this special event together.  He shared how he had worked at the Rancho Murieta Golf Course during the summer months throughout his college years. He enjoyed watching the first air shows that came to Rancho Murieta. He has fond memories about growing up on the ranch.

“I want to thank everyone for putting this event together.

I appreciate everybody’s efforts. Thank you.”

Ted Hart said: “The thing I remember about your dad is that he was such a nice guy.”

More from Jo: “David Lema, Carole Sacre-Kramer, and Susan Snyder took it upon themselves to work together to make several presentations to the Rancho Murieta Country Club Board of Directors, about my dad’s many years of service at Rancho Murieta Golf Course and Country Club. Jon Snyder, Rancho Murieta Country Club Board of Directors member, and Susan Snyder’s husband, joined, the group to propose, plan, and prepare the recognition of Antonio Gusman’s years of service and history at Rancho Murieta on Feb. 20, 2020. I will be forever grateful for their generosity, kindness, enthusiasm, and all the hard work they put into creating such a beautiful and memorable evening to honor my father.”

Many thanks to Jo Gusman, David Lema, Carole Sacre Kramer, and the Rancho Murieta Board of Directors for  recognizing the contributions to our history from Antonio Gusman.  

I have known the Antonio and Carmen Gusman family since 1970 when Jo was my 7th grade student at Joseph Kerr Middle School. Later, Tony was a student at Elk Grove High School when I was the vice principal there. These two Supergrad students have had amazing careers and they continue to follow the path their father set for them.  

NOTE: Elk Grove Unified School District closed all schools in the week of March 9-13 due to concerns about the coronavirus!

BOOKS BY ELIZABETH PINKERTON

History Happened Here, Book 1 – River, Oaks, Gold

History Happened Here, Book 2 – Fields, Farms, Schools

We the People, a Story of Internment in America

All book proceeds go for student scholarships, and I thank the many purchasers who have made possible the 75 scholarships with each one $1,000, and five more in May of 2020! Make your check for books payable to Laguna Publishers and send to me at 9227 Lamprey Drive, Elk Grove, CA 95624.  Books are $20 apiece and California sales tax is included. Add $3 for shipping of one or two books; $5 for 3-6 books. Call me at (916) 685-0606 or email me at elizabethpink@gmail.com.    And, you can always purchase books at meetings of the EGUSD Board of Education.