Seminole County stalwart dies: Retired Clerk of Court Maryanne Morse remembered by elected colleagues

Photos for Headline Surfer / Maryanne Morse, who was Seminole Clerk of the Court dor 28 years before retiring in 2016, and shiwn here in ths yndated photo from her office, passed away Tuesday night. The Lake Mary resident was 73.
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

SANFORD. Fla. ---  Maryanne Morse, who served as Seminole County’s clerk of courts for nearly three decades until retiring last year, died Tuesday. She was 73.

Morse, who resided in Lake Mary, was first elected in 1988 and held the elective office until 2016, when she opted to retire instead of seeking re-elevction to a seventh four-year term.

Elected colleagues reflected on her tough-as-mails approach to fiscal conservatism and government acccountabiliuty to the citizens in the the wake of her death.

“She was a giant in the state," said her successor, Grant Maloy.. "She introduced innovations to the office that others would copy and was always dedicated to her clerks and the citizens. She will be greatly missed."

Maloy and others recalled how in her first day as clerk of courts, Morse fired a judge’s wife who worked as a deputy clerk.

Michael Ertel, Seminole supervisor of elections, said Tuesday night was "bittersweet" for him and the other constitutional officers in Seminole County, after learning of Morse's death.

 "Within a five-minute time span, we celebrated as our county charter review commission affirmed their stance in the independence of our offices," Ertel said. "Moments later, we learned of the passing of our former Clerk of the Court, the iconic Maryanne Morse. Maryanne was as tough as nails and had a razor-sharp mind that guided not only the office, but the investments of our quickly growing county for 28 years." 

Ertel continued, "Maryanne was a conservative in every sense of the word, and generations of aspiring politicians sought Maryanne's counsel and support. Current Clerk Grant Maloy was in constant communication with his legendary predecessor; and she's been a mentor to him, and others."

Seminole county elected leaders remember Maryanne Morse / Headline SurferMichael Ertel, Seminole supervisor of elections, shown in the middle here, said Tuesday night was "bittersweet" for him and the constitutional officers in Seminole County, after learning of Morse's death. 

"Within a five-minute time span, we celebrated as our county charter review commission affirmed their stance in the independence of our offices," Ertel said. "Moments later, we learned of the passing of our former Clerk of the Court, the iconic Maryanne Morse. Maryanne was as tough as nails and had a razor-sharp mind that guided not only the office, but the investments of our quickly growing county for 28 years." 

Ertel continued, "Maryanne was a conservative in every sense of the word, and generations of aspiring politicians sought Maryanne's counsel and support. Current Clerk Grant Maloy was in constant communication with his legendary predecessor; and she's been a mentor to him, and others."

Ertel said his last conversation with Morse was a three-minute official call "which morphed into more than an hour on the phone talking all things government, politics, and dogs. I'll miss those chats, and our county will certainly miss the hard-driving, dog-loving, efficiency-minded Maryanne Morse."

In addition to keeping official court and land records, the Seminole clerk of courts also is the county’s comptroller and auditor.

Originally from Madison, Wis., Morse, who earned a degree from Rollins College in 1980, worked as a bookkeeper and comptroller for several companies before running for clerk of courts eight years later.

Morse was vice chairwoman of the Seminole County Republican Committee, from 1974 through 1980; was co-chairwoman of the Florida Federation of Young in the late 1970s and served as secretary of the Florida State Republican Executive Committee in 1980.

Guy A. Morse, her former husband, died in July 1997. 

Baldwin-Fairchild Funeral Home, Oaklawn Park Chapel, in Sanford, is handling arrangements.

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.