Orange County Tax Collector Earl K. Wood dies at 96

Republican opponent suspends campaign

ORLANDO, Fla. - Earl K. Wood, who served as the Orange County tax collector for the past 48 years, died Monday at the age of 96.

Wood passed away Monday morning, according to his office, but no other details have been released.

"Mr. Wood had a great sense of humor, quick wit and a ready smile. His 'TEAM' driven dedication of over 48 years in the Tax Collector profession, tenacity, willingness to help out and do the right thing and most importantly his commitment to his family, friends and the community that he served will be sorely missed," Assistant Tax Collector Kelly Goodwin said in a news release.

Goodwin, a Republican, has worked with Wood for the last 10 years, and at one time, there was a plan for her to take over for him, but she will not be appointed as his replacement.

The Democratic Party will name a replacement within five days, and a note on the Nov. 6 ballot will explain that a vote for Wood is a vote for his replacement.

"We at the Democratic Party thank (Wood) for his service and offer his family and friends our deepest condolences. He will be missed," the Orange County Democratic Party said.

The campaign of Jim Huckeba, the Republican candidate who was running against Wood in the upcoming election, offered its condolences to the Wood family.  

"We applaud him for his decades of service to this community and have suspended our campaign temporarily to give his family, his staff and our community time to grieve. Our deepest condolences are for Mr. Wood's family and friends at this time," Huckeba's campaign said in a statement.

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