LAKELAND, Fla. – The heiress to the Publix Super Markets franchise died on Tuesday at the age of 65, according to a news release from the grocery store chain.
Carol Jenkins Barnett was the daughter of the company’s founder, George W. Jenkins, and also a former chair and president of Publix, according to the release.
Jenkins Barnett, of Lakeland, started working at one of her father’s grocery stores in 1972 as a cashier at the Grove Park Shopping Center, the company said. She also served in the company’s corporate marketing research and development department and served on the board of directors for 33 years, the release reads.
“The Publix family is deeply saddened by the loss of a great humanitarian and community advocate,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said 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.”
Jenkins Barnett was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2016, according to the company.
According to Publix, Jenkins was a known philanthropist who gave to nonprofit organizations such as United Way, Florida Partnership for School Readiness and Family Fundamentals.
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.