A nearly five-decade stint in office came to an end as 96-year-old Orange County Tax Collector Earl K. Wood died early today at his home.
“He just went peacefully,” said his top deputy, Kelly Goodwin. “It’s a sad day.”
A push by Mayor Teresa Jacobs to potentially overhaul the job that Wood held for 48 years formally kicked off in August. In one of his last public appearances, Wood attended a meeting of that task force but declined to address the appointed panel, saying later it was a waste of time.
“We’ve been debating this since the 1960s,” he said then.
Wood planned to retire this year and support his top lieutenant in the fall elections. Instead, a bizarre scene on the final day of qualifying in June ended with Wood running for another four-year term.