LAKELAND, Fla. — Carol Jenkins Barnett, daughter of the founder of the Publix supermarket chain, passed away Tuesday night at the age of 65.
She was the former chair and president of Publix Super Markets Charities.
Company representatives said she died peacefully at her Lakeland home surrounded by family members.
In 2016, she was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease.
Jenkins Barnett began with Publix in 1972 as a cashier at Grove Park Shopping Center in Lakeland and later worked in Publix’s corporate marketing research and development department. In 1983, she was elected to the Publix board of directors where she served for 33 years.
Following father George W. Jenkins' stroke in 1989, the charities board appointed her chair. In 1991, she was named chair and president.
“The Publix family is deeply saddened by the loss of a great humanitarian and community advocate,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones. “In addition to her service at Publix, Carol Jenkins Barnett made significant contributions to many nonprofit organizations and for the betterment of all children with investments in early childhood education programs. She will be sorely missed by her family, our associates and the community. Carol had a generous heart and compassionate soul. Her efforts will continue to improve the lives of others for generations.”
Jenkins Barnett earned a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing from Florida Southern College (FSC) in 1979. She also received the Doctor of Public Service honoris causa from her alma mater in 1998.
A memorial service will be held at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, Saturday, Dec. 11, at 11 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Bonnet Springs Park, bonnetspringspark.com.