Publix Super Markets announced that Carol Jenkins Barnett, the daughter of company founder George W. Jenkins, died Dec. 7. Jenkins Barnett, who was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease in 2016, was 65.
Born and raised in Lakeland, Fla., Jenkins Barnett began working at Publix in 1972 as a cashier 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.
“The Publix family is deeply saddened by the loss of a great humanitarian and community advocate,” said Publix CEO Todd Jones in a statement. “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.”
In 1983, she joined the foundation’s board of directors. Following her father’s stroke in 1989, the charities board appointed her chair. In 1991, she was named chair and president.
Barnett, one of seven children of Jenkins who died in 1996, earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida Southern College (FSC) in 1979. While attending FSC, she joined the Junior League of Lakeland and remained actively involved.
Publix said that Jenkins Barnett and her husband, Barney, have been admired philanthropists in their community, known for supporting nonprofit organizations including United Way, Florida Partnership for School Readiness and Family Fundamentals.
Over the years, according to the grocer, they have funded numerous community projects including Barnett Park, and the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children at Lakeland Regional Health. Her final philanthropic gift was the founding of Bonnet Springs Park, which, according to the park’s website, is a “place is to enrich our community through nature, culture, recreation, and education.”
She is survived by her husband, Barney Barnett; two sons, Wesley Barnett (Ashley Bell Barnett) and Nicholas Barnett (Ashley Gibson Barnett); three grandchildren: Raleigh, Birdie and Zoey. She was preceded in death by her father, George, and mother, Anne.
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