County commissioner Detert dies at age 78

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A press release from Sarasota County officials:

It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that Sarasota County mourns the loss of Board of County Commission Vice Chair Nancy C. Detert, who passed away Wednesday, April 5, at her home. She was 78, and she spent more than 35 of those years serving the public. 

Detert was first elected to the Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners in 2016 and subsequently re-elected in 2020. Prior to her tenure with the county, Detert served in the Florida Senate from 2008 to 2016, Florida House of Representatives from 1998 to 2006, and on the Sarasota County School Board from 1988 to 1992.  

As a pillar of leadership in the community, Detert was a strong advocate for water quality, mental health and substance abuse resources, youth development, affordable housing, the Suncoast Technical College – North Port Branch and the Loveland Center.    

While at the state level, Detert received numerous awards and passed many bills; she was most proud of passing a bill that extends foster care from age 18 to 21, the Nancy C. Detert Common Sense and Compassion Independent Living Act.  

She will be remembered as a fierce community champion and dedicated public servant. 

“Nancy was a mentor and a dear friend. I loved her ability to cut through the noise and get to the heart of the matter. She had a reputation for common sense and was dedicated to serving the community she loved right up until her last day. This is a huge loss for our community, but Nancy’s legacy will continue as we come together to reflect on her life and those she inspired,” said District 5 Commissioner Chair Ron Cutsinger. 

“I’m shocked and sad. I loved her like a sister. Some of the hardest laughs I’ve had were with Nancy. My heart goes out to her family. God broke the mold with Nancy. Her knowledge, expertise, and leadership will be deeply missed. As we mourn her loss, we honor her legacy by continuing to work toward the goals she held dear,” said District 1 Commissioner Mike Moran. 

“Nancy was a treasure. Her service to Sarasota County is unequaled, from her time at Sarasota School Board, State Representative and State Senate, to County Commissioner – she worked tirelessly to help achieve our organization’s mission and goals and beyond. Nancy always gave her unfiltered, honest opinion and will be greatly missed,”said District 2 Commissioner Mark Smith. 

I’ve known Nancy most of my life and have looked up to her as a role model. She is a legend and leaves an inspiring legacy. She was honest, direct and funny as hell. Her Irish gift of gab was unbelievable, and she was an incredible storyteller. There’s no one like her. She may be imitated but never duplicated. I will miss our conversations and her piercing blue eyes – which had a clear vision for our community. As a resident of Venice, I directly saw her dedication to serving the people she loved in the place she lived,” said District 4 Commissioner Joe Neunder. 

“We are all grieving this tremendous loss to our community. Nancy was a trailblazer. I appreciated her candor and straightforward approach to government. Her leadership and dedication to our community will live on in her monumental accomplishments and through the relationships she built over the years. This is a difficult day for the county team and our community,” said Sarasota County Administrator Jonathan Lewis

“Nancy was an exceptional county commissioner and a very special person. She had a direct, no-nonsense approach to legal issues that I always appreciated. Nancy possessed a quick wit and sense of humor that helped lighten the mood at many board meetings Her passing is a great loss to the Sarasota community,” said Sarasota County Attorney Rick Elbrecht.

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