Senator Young Honors Woman of Distinction Francie Potter

Catharine Young

August 15, 2013

Allegany resident honored for over 50 years of service and community involvement

ALLEGANY – From the PTA and ski clubs to local colleges and historical associations, Francie Potter has devoted herself to public service in Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties through a multitude of groups and organizations. For her decades of selfless service, she was selected by Senator Catharine Young (R,C,I-Olean) as the New York State Senate’s 2013 Woman of Distinction for the 57th Senate District.

“Francie Potter’s lifetime of giving back to her community should inspire us all. She is the type of person where those who cross paths with her always remember her wit, sense of humor and smile. Given the many hats she wears, Francie deserves our gratitude and recognition. Thank you and congratulations to Francie,” said Senator Young.

“I am very honored to receive this award,” said Francie. “I really think that people, if they are able to, should volunteer in their communities where their abilities and talents can be put to use. I hope that what I do benefits the community in some way, and can serve as an inspiration to encourage others to get involved in their communities.”

Because Francie could not attend the Woman of Distinction ceremony held in Albany in May, she was honored with a reception held this evening at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany.

At the ceremony in Albany on May 7, 2013, Francie and other distinguished women from across New York State were honored for their contributions to their communities.  The New York State Senate Woman of Distinction honor was created in 1998 to annually pay tribute to those women in our state who have demonstrated remarkable character, initiative, and commitment in serving their neighbors, strengthening our communities, and acting as role models that all should strive to emulate.

Since moving to Allegany in 1956, Francie always has been a major part of the community and devotes her time and talents to others in a wide variety of ways.

Francie was born in Ann Arbor Michigan where she lived for 20 years. She attended the University of Michigan where she also met her husband Bob in 1954. In 1956, they moved to Bob’s hometown of Allegany so they could both help with the family business, Potter Lumber Company. Three of their children now work at Potter Lumber, which has been a family-run business for over 100 years.

Francie and Bob had six children together, and as the children became involved in activities growing up, Francie was tireless in supporting them all. In what she calls her “first gig,” Francie was President of the Parent Teacher Association at Allegany School District, where her children attended. Several of the children also began competitive ski racing at the Wing Hollow Ski Area, which led to Francie joining the Niagara Frontier Ski Council as a board member. This group was charged with governing the ski races that took place in Western New York.

Because of her husband Bob's love of cars, Francie also helped run the Allegheny Valley Sportscar Association. She held the title of Secretary and wrote and edited their monthly newsletters.  She also helped organize their monthly rallies.

Francie also served as a Board Member and past President of the Mental Health Association in Cattaraugus County. During Francie’s years of involvement, the Mental Health Association ran summer camps and care services, providing valuable support to those with mental illness.

The Allegany Area Historical Association has also been fortunate enough to benefit from Francie’s community involvement. Francie is the Association’s current president, and has been for 15 years. She is also a trustee and the editor of the Association newsletter. In this role, she also serves as the Chair of Allegany Heritage Days, a yearly festival with vendors and entertainment that coincides with the Allegany School District's annual class reunions.

Francie has been a parishioner at St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany for over 55 years and also served as a parish trustee for 14 years. She continues to serve as a lector and Eucharistic minister.

Francie also served as a board member of the Jamestown Community College Foundation for 14 years, which works independently in support of the mission of the college.

She has also served on the board of the Olean Child Development Center, which provides after-school and all-day programs and classes for children.

Also, for the last 18 years, Francie has been a volunteer at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University and often guides tours for visiting school groups.

“As an official New York State Senate Woman of Distinction, Francie Potter’s community involvement and selfless dedication to helping make our community a better place to live and raise a family will receive the special recognition that this honor confers, as a fitting expression of our gratitude and admiration,” said Senator Young.