On entering the Sieglers’ apartment, I immediately saw why Carol was a successful interior designer. Her experience living in diverse places must underpin her talent for bringing together artwork, clean-lined furniture and bold patterns. However, the piece she called to my attention was a pillow a daughter had made, featuring cloth prints of family pictures of the Sieglers and their three daughters and five grandchildren.
Designing rooms and raising children are only two of Carol’s many activities. She was born in New York City but spent all of her young life in Havana, Cuba, where she attended Ruston Academy, sometimes boarding there while her parents traveled for the textile business her father had founded in Cuba. She returned to New York for the last two years of high school and then attended Cornell University on a scholarship as a pre-med student.
Morton’s life journey began in Jersey City. In the year he was born, his father had started a company, which played a substantial role in the construction of the Holland Tunnel. (The firm’s name is on a bronze plaque at the Jersey entrance.)
Morton’s work towards a degree in civil engineering at Cornell was disrupted by World War II, but fortunately the final semester requirement was waived and his degree granted. After leaving the Army, he returned to Cornell as an instructor. There he and Carol met on a blind date. A romance blossomed over the next year, and they were married in November 1947 in New York City.
Morton joined his father’s construction business, ultimately becoming president and CEO and sole owner.
In the 1960s, he also started a very successful firm for commercial and industrial real estate. In 1977, he closed the family firm and later joined the public sector when he was appointed by Gov. Thomas Kane as the Director of the Division of Building and Construction for the State of New Jersey.
Carol and Morton have been volunteers throughout their lives. In New Jersey, she was a Spanish interpreter for Planned Parenthood and also helped found an arts group for school children and a cooperative nursery school. In Sarasota, Carol has served as a guardian ad litem, as a member of the Children’s Guardian Fund, and she is currently on its advisory board. She has been on the boards of the Asolo Repertory Theatre and the Sarasota Ballet.
The American Jewish Committee (the first human rights organization in the U.S.) has been an important part of the Sieglers’ life. Carol has chaired the New Jersey and the Sarasota chapters, and both are honorary vice presidents of the National Board. Morton is also a past board member of the Sarasota Orchestra and has been appointed a County Mediator for the Supreme Court of Florida.
In spite of multiple careers, steady volunteering, and family responsibilities, this energetic pair has also managed time for fun. They have had residences on Lake Hopatcong, a beach house in the Bahamas, and since 1990, a condo on Longboat Key, and have traveled to far-away places.
Morton and Carol say they are pleased to be settled at Plymouth Harbor with all its amenities and, especially, all the wonderful people they are meeting.