DELHI — Walter Clarke Root III, 78, of Clifton Park, former longtime Delhi resident, passed away Saturday, Feb. 23, 2002, at Schuyler Ridge Health Care Residence in Clifton Park after a battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

The son of the late Walter C. Jr. and Helen (Crane) Root, he was born Oct. 10, 1923, in Kansas City, Mo., where he began his formal education at the University of Kansas, then joining the U.S. Merchant Marine. He was appointed a cadet midshipman and graduated from the Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point with a bachelor of science degree, later seeing duty on T-2 tankers in the Pacific, Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf until the end of World War II.

After the war, he began a long career in the hospitality industry, eventually going to New York City where he served as domestic sales representative for Sheraton Hotels.

He later became director of sales for Intercontinental Hotels Corp., a subsidiary of Pan-American Airways, for which he traveled extensively, assisting in opening hotels in all Pan-Am destination cities in Latin America.

Later a director of group travel and sales incentive tours for Embassy Tours, Walter subsequently re-joined Sheraton Hotels as director of international sales and, in 1968, became general manager of Grapetree Bay Hotel in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Root family came to Delhi in 1972, where Walter joined the Hospitality Division at SUNY-Delhi and taught hotel sales and marketing, housekeeping and tourism for 13 years until retirement. He moved to Clifton Park three years ago.

A U.S. Navy reservist, Boy Scout counselor and assistant troop leader, he was founder of the Association of Group Travel Executives and was a member of the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association, St. Mary’s Parish in Waterford and served in numerous charitable and civic volunteer capacities over the years.

Surviving are his wife of 52 years, Barbara (Sessions) Root; two sons, Walt of Clifton Park, and Bill and his wife, Ellen, Root of Altamont; four grandchildren, Kevin, Brian and Megan Root, Samantha and her husband, Brian, Taylor; and a great-grandson, Austin Taylor.

He was predeceased in 2001 by his only sister, Helen Hill.

Friends are invited to call from 7 to 9 p.m. today at the Hall & Peet Funeral Home in Delhi, where the family will be in attendance and a vigil service will be held at 8:30 p.m. A funeral Mass, to celebrate Walter’s life, will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26, at St. Peter’s Church, Delhi, where he was a former parishioner. The Rev. James McDevitt will preside, assisted by deacon Thomas O’Connell. Burial will be later in the Woodland Cemetery. A reception, following the Mass, will be at the SUNY-Delhi Hospitality Center.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions to the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, 1250 Hylan Blvd., Suite 4-B, Staten Island, NY 10305, will be appreciated.

Arrangements are entrusted to Robert A. Peet & Son, Delhi.