A celebration will be held at noon Friday, July 12, for Joyce Morton, Franklin County register of probate, who is turning 70 and has worked for the county for 50 years. Donna M. Perry/Sun Journal

FARMINGTON — Joyce Morton will mark two milestones Friday when she celebrates her 70th birthday and her 50th year with the Franklin County Probate Court.

Family, friends and co-workers will join her for a potluck luncheon at noon Friday at the county courthouse, where she’s been register of probate for 36 years.

People who plan to attend are asked to bring something for the luncheon and to notify county Finance Manager Vickie Braley at vbraley@franklincountymaine.gov.

Morton, who grew up in Farmington, has worked for five probate judges, starting with Earl Wing of Kingfield. Her husband, Richard Morton, retired from probate judge in 2018 after 35 years. Margot Joly of Weld holds the office now.

“There is a lot of history here,” Joyce Morton said.

Behind her desk is the door to the vault that holds all probate records in Franklin County since 1838.


Deputy Register of Probate Cheryl Osborne has worked with Morton for 27 years and is creating docket sheets and scanning the original probate documents for inclusion in a computerized database. People can view probate records for the state at www.maineprobate.net.

Morton credits having “excellent help” as one reason she likes her job.

“Everybody in the (county) building gets along,” she said. “It’s like family.”

Among the services they provide are adoptions, which are celebrations, name changes and guardianships of minor children and adults, she said.

There is another aspect of her job that she enjoys.

“I like the law part of it,” Morton said. “I really do, I like helping people.”

Morton’s career in county government started in 1968 when she took a summer job in the Register of Deeds Office. She left for a few months to work as a telephone operator before returning in July 1969 as deputy register of probate. When Register of Probate Elizabeth Holmes resigned midterm, Gov. Joseph Brennan appointed Morton to the job Nov. 7, 1983.

She was elected to her first four-year term in 1985 and re-elected every four years since. Her term expires Dec. 31, 2020.

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