Francine Root Petersen, 82, Watertown

WATERTOWN, NY —  Francine Root Petersen, 82, Watertown, a daughter of the late Leonard and Madolyn (Salotto) Root, passed away on Monday, June 14, 2021, at Hospice of Jefferson County at the Ellis Farm.

She is survived by sons, James J. Petersen, Watertown, and Leonard R. Petersen, Brookville, FL; two sisters Roxanne (Philip) Pratt of Goose Bay, NY, and Georgia A. Root, Glen Allen, VA, a daughter-in-law, Julee K. Petersen, Watertown, NY; many cousins, nephews and great nephews; a special family friend who is more like a son, Teddy Sutton.

She was predeceased by her beloved son Michael John in 1963 and her constant companion, her Black Labrador Retriever, Seamus.

A marriage to James F. Petersen ended in divorce.

Francine was a graduate of Watertown High School and SUNY in Farmingdale, Long Island.

Upon graduation she worked as a registered dental hygienist in the Carthage and Watertown public school districts.

During this time Francine served as the Chairwoman of the New York State Redesign Program of the Watertown School District, a program that successfully coordinated the community and educational needs. As a result of these positions Francine made a special note for the need of affordable dental health for all children.

Francine developed and implemented a proposal that established the first non-profit Northern New York Children’s Dental Health Clinic. As it’s executive director, she successfully expanded the program creating two additional clinics that served the children in Ogdensburg in St. Lawrence County and Lowville in Lewis County.

Francine was known among family and friends for her natural born talent of interior design. She often gave generously of this talent and was instrumental in the interior decor of Lava’s Dante’s Restaurant.

Francine was the daughter of one of the founding fathers of the Italian American Civic Association (IACA). Upon request of the club’s president, she agreed to prepare a history of the club from its inception in 1939 to 1989. Through extensive research and interviews with the original members she created a written history for the club’s Fiftieth Anniversary. She was interviewed by the Watertown Daily Times for both the 50th and 80th anniversaries.

Francine’s family would like to thank, Dr. Jason White, his staff, Samaritan Summit Village, the Lodge at Ives Hill Retirement Community and Hospice of Jefferson County for the kind and considerate care Francine was given.

At Francine’s request, there will be no calling hours and a private burial will take place with the immediate family.

A Celebration of Life will be announced at a later date.

Arrangements are with D.L. Calarco Funeral Home, Inc.

In lieu of flowers, cards of condolence and donations may be made in Francine’s memory to the Italian American Civic Association or to one’s favorite charity, c/o D.L. Calarco Funeral Home, Inc., 135 Keyes Ave., Watertown, NY 13601.