One of La Salle County's most popular and well-respected officials died Sunday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
Former La Salle County Clerk JoAnn Carretto, who lived in Marseilles, was 62.
Carretto, who gained a reputation on Etna Road for getting along with all her colleagues, decided not to run for re-election after being elected to three four-year terms. She told The Times in November she probably would have run again except a serious health issue slowed her down and required — at her husband’s urging — that she make her own well-being top priority.
Her experience made her an important resource during county board meetings, because she would be able to recall dates, as well as procedures, County Board Chairman Jerry Hicks, D-Marseilles, previously told The Times.
Carretto, a Democrat, started with the county clerk’s office on Oct. 1, 1979, when she first worked in the basement of the downtown Ottawa county building prior to the move to the then-new county building on Etna Road.
Carretto attended Illinois State University for a year and a half with the idea she would become a home economics teacher before deciding to seek a job in Ottawa. That was when County Board Member Tom Walsh, D-Ottawa, then the county clerk, offered Carretto a job at the clerk's office.
“The one thing I really feel with all my heart and that I will take with me is what an honor it’s been to have been elected as the La Salle County Clerk and to have served the residents and voters for the past 12 years," Carretto told The Times for a November story.
Lori Bongartz, who worked in the clerk's office under Carretto, succeeded Carretto, winning the November election.
Carretto's services are being handled by Ottawa Funeral Home. The Times will be working on a tribute story to Carretto this week.