Cover photo for Dorothy J. Semeraro's Obituary
Dorothy J. Semeraro Profile Photo
1927 Dorothy 2019

Dorothy J. Semeraro

September 5, 1927 — August 28, 2019

Dorothy J. Semeraro, resident of Cleveland, TN, passed away August 28, 2019, after a short illness in Largo, Florida, where she had been staying with and receiving elderly care by daughter Loren and family.  She was eight days short of celebrating her 92nd birthday. 

She was a first generation Italian-American born and raised in Albany, New York, living on the same city block with her mother’s extended family.  There were many aunts and uncles close in age, as well as proximity, providing opportunity for her to develop a strong bond with them and eventually their children, her cousins, making many memories that would last a life-time for her. 

Dorothy is predeceased by her parents Mary and Anthony Fontanelli.  She was the eldest of eight children; survived by her youngest sister Dolores Ramundo and predeceased by her sisters Annie Nichols, Matilda DeMayo, Rosemary Fourneir, and brothers, John, Vincent and Joseph Fontanelli.  She is survived by many nieces and nephews.  

She is also predeceased by her loving husband Lawrence Semeraro.  They moved to South Colonie, NY, a few years after marriage to build their own home and raise their family of three daughters.   She is predeceased by her eldest daughter Lynette Rousselle and survived by daughters Dana (Delbert) Danitz and Loren (Jorge) Espinoza.  Also survived by grandsons, great-grandchildren and great great-grandchildren. 

Dot, as she was known by, had a life filled with several hobbies.  Beginning as a young lady, she became an amateur photographer with family always as her main subjects.  She created many photo albums with pages filled with the family members she so dearly loved.  She even had to glue the pictures into to those little black tabs to prevent her sisters from removing photos for themselves!  Creating family photo albums was a lifelong passion for her. 

Even though photos were a lifetime aspiration, she later mastered electronic equipment to put classic movies to VHS tapes.  She spent many hours creating and cataloging all her favorite films eventually having to arrange a large space for their storage. 

She was a seamstress as a young woman.  Having a strong sense of fashion, she was able to satisfy her ambitions during the Depression years by making her own clothes, as well as some items for her younger sisters.  She continued sewing for herself and her daughters for special occasions in later years.  It also gave her the skill for employment as a seamstress at a few locations in Albany and when in Florida where she relocated for several years. 

Dot also had developed bookkeeping skills that provided employment opportunities for her.  She was able to maintain all records for the family businesses known as Latham Builders & Remodelers and Porto Fino Pizza, that her husband Larry and her brother John had started together. 

She was well-known for her green thumb.  She had a variety of plants that she lovingly and gently cared for bringing them all to a healthy vibrant life, enjoying them greatly especially when it was time for those that would open into their blooms.   She would happily share her cuttings with anyone interested.  When she made extended out-of-town visits, she would solicit family members, giving them strict instructions on how to care for all of her greenery in her absence.  Of course, upon returning home, her plants’ care would be her first priority. 

Dot had a great love for her pets.  She enjoyed having cats around her and they basked in her love and care, while having only one dog for many years which she treated as another family member.  She enjoyed the pets of her immediate family in later years; their dogs brought her great pleasure and became familiar with each one’s ways, responding to them with her affections.  At the age of 86, she was so smitten with one in particular, she even wrote a simple poem which delighted her in creating a lasting expression of the bond that they shared.   

Having reached the end of her natural life, Dorothy’s family is comforted in knowing she had a very long satisfying life, although not without its hardships, and were able honor her deepest wish to be surrounded by her loving family up until the end of her length of days.  They will forever cherish her memory… her life and legacy will live on. 

A graveside service will be held on Saturday, September 7, 2019 in Hilcrest Memorial Gardens.

Ralph Buckner Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the Semeraro family guestbook at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dorothy J. Semeraro, please visit our flower store.


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