She was remembered as someone who put customer service first, her colleagues said.
Cathy Curtis, the Lee County Tax Collector, died Wednesday afternoon after a battling a lengthy illness. She was 52.
After Curtis began as tax collector a dozen years ago, she had express windows installed and made technologic advancements, such as allowing customers to pay using credit/debit cards, said Larry Hart, assistant tax collector said.
"We're all dealing with a loss, like losing a family member," Hart said. "We're a close-knit group, lose one, it's sad. It ripples through the agency."
Curtis, 52, was elected to the position in 2000, and held it through two more elections.
"She was one of the smartest individuals I've had the pleasure to work with," Hart said. "She was a visionary."
Hart, who has worked by her side at the tax collector's office for 11 years, recalled long hours they spent working together when he was the chief of police and she was the budget director at the city of Fort Myers in 1994.
Before serving as tax collector, Curtis worked nine years in the private sector as a practicing certified public accountant, auditing real estate and life insurance companies, according to a news release.
Hart said he'll always remember her love of animals.
Curtis was born in Fort Walton Beach and is survived by her husband, Gary Curtis, and their seven cats.