Former Santa Rosa mayor and 50-year accountant Clement R. "Ting" Guggiana died Monday at his beloved family ranch southwest of the city.
Guggiana served twice as mayor during a 12-year City Council run that saw the construction of the vigorously contested downtown mall and that honored what he described as an unwritten rule against council members "throwing shoes, yelling and screaming and acting like children." He was 82 years old.
Guggiana was 39 and a recipient of the Santa Rosa Jaycees' "Outstanding Young Man of the Year" award when he won election to the city council in 1970. His campaign slogan: "Get a Good Ting Going!"
Gregarious and good-humored, the son of Italian immigrants loved to root for the San Francisco Giants and also in his vegetable garden, whose bounty he'd share with his many friends.
Upon announcing in 1982 that he would not seek a fourth term on the Santa Rosa City Council, Guggiana said that though he wasn't sure what he'd do with his freed-up time, "My zucchini garden needs its attention."
As a certified public accountant, he worked most of his career for himself. Until this past Jan. 1, when failing health prompted him to retire, he shared a downtown office with nearly lifelong buddy, construction-company owner Dick Colombini.
"He was outstanding," Colombini said. "He stood up for his rights and he was faithful to his family and faithful to his friends, faithful to his city.
"He did his share."
Guggiana was born in Santa Rosa in 1931. After graduating from Santa Rosa High, he studied for a year at Santa Rosa Junior College and then joined pal Colombini at the University of San Francisco.
They both served in the Army and then returned to Santa Rosa. Guggiana became a CPA and worked with the firm of Fitzpatrick & Poulsen before opening his own practice in 1964.
Serving also as the accountant for Colombini Construction, he worked out of an office inside Colombini's headquarters on Healdsburg Avenue. The sons of Italian immigrant fathers who'd met at Ellis Island, Guggiana and Colombini became pretty much inseparable.
"We did everything together," Colombini said. "I would joke that I used to see him more than my wife."
Guggiana's career in local politics began in the early 1960s with his appointment to the committee that studied potential locations for a new City Hall.
One of his three sons, Richard Guggiana of Santa Rosa, said that at the time he was proud of the ambitious decision to box a stretch of Santa Rosa and Matanzas creeks in concrete, then build a new civic center over the top of them.
That "turned out to be the absolutely wrong thing to do," the younger Guggiana said.
In 1965, Ting Guggiana was appointed to the city Board of Public Utilities. When he won election to the city council five years later, Santa Rosa was digging out and rebuilding in the aftermath of the hugely destructive earthquake of 1969.
He became a proponent of a plan to allow the dividing of downtown through the construction of Santa Rosa Plaza. Upon deciding in 1982 that he would not seek a fourth term, Guggiana said in an interview with The Press Democrat that he was satisfied that critics who argued that a mall in that location would ruin downtown were wrong.