Francis Ottaviano, 85, of Village medical dynasty
Dr. Francis Ottaviano, who loved fly-fishing, with a trout he hooked
By ALBERT AMATEAU | Dr. Francis Ottaviano, who lived and practiced medicine in the Village all his life, died Sun., Nov. 6, at the age of 85.
One of his sons, Dr. Lorenzo Ottaviano, ran his own practice from the same Sheridan Square medical office as his father until two years ago.
Dr. Francis Ottaviano, like his own father before him, was renowned as a member of a Greenwich Village medical dynasty. In addition to his son Lorenzo, another son, Paul, is also a physician.
Francis Ottaviano practiced medicine in the same location until his health began to decline two years ago, said his daughter, Helena Stuart.
“He was always ready with a joke,” recalled his daughter. “At his funeral, people came up and told us about the jokes he told them and how he saved their lives,” she said.
Fly-fishing for trout was his lifelong avocation.
“It was his passion,” his daughter recalled. “He used to get up at midnight and drive for an hour or two and sleep in the car so that he could be the first at his favorite spot — on the Housatonic, I think.”
In later years, he would take his sons and a grandson to fish in Alaska for two weeks.
“He was a big man and it was hard for him to move around, but he made the trip several times,” his daughter said.
He was born on Feb. 16, 1926, in Rutland, Vermont, where his mother was raised. His father, Dr. Francis Ottaviano, was a surgeon and his mother, Maida Heimz Ottaviano, was a nurse at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
Francis Jr., one of five brothers and two sisters, went to Our Lady of Pompeii elementary school in Greenwich Village and Xavier High School on W. 16th St.
At the age of 17 in the middle of World War II, he enlisted in the Army. As an Army medic he served in the South Pacific and was awarded the Purple Heart.
“He had a finger missing and joked about it, but he told a brother that it happened when he tossed a hand grenade out of a foxhole,” his daughter said.
After he was discharged, he worked for a while at the Daily News and attended St. Peter’s College in New Jersey. He met his wife, Helena Petracca, in New York on New Year’s Eve 1950 and they married two weeks later. With their 4-month-old daughter they left for Italy in 1951 where he studied medicine in Turin and Padua.
“He had to learn to speak Italian before his medical studies,” his daughter said. “His favorite poem was ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling,” she said.
In addition to his daughter Helena and sons Drs. Lorenzo and. Paul Ottaviano, his wife, Helena, two other daughters, Carol and Jean, and three other sons, Francis, Robert and Richard, also survive. Two sisters, Beatrice Breitenbach Lennon of Atlanta, Ga., and Carol Sperandeo of Long Island, also survive.
Perazzo Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. The funeral was at Our Lady of Pompei Church and burial was in St. Michael’s Cemetery in Queens.