POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Philanthropist Carol Jenkins Barnett, daughter of Publix Super Markets founder and longtime board member, passed away at the age of 65 this week.
“With heavy hearts, we share the news of the passing of Carol Jenkins Barnett,” the company said in a statement. “It was a difficult day for her family, our Publix family and the community.”
According to the statement, she passed away on Tuesday night at her home, surrounded by family.
Her daughter-in-law, Ashley Gibson Barnett, mourned her on Facebook, calling her one of the most remarkable women she knew.
“Her kindness, endurance, wisdom and legacy is something that will always be with us. God bless me endlessly when he chose you to be my mother-in-law,” said Gibson Barnett. “My marriage has given me more than just a husband; it gave me a second mother. I can’t even begin to thank her for all the unconditional love and support she has continuously shared with us. Life has given me countless reasons to be happy, and she is definitely one of them.”
Publix Super Markets Inc. announced Barnett’s departure from the board in 2016 after being diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease. She has served as president of the Publix Supermarket Charity since 1991.
“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 has made a significant contribution to many nonprofit organizations and for the betterment of all children with her investments in early childhood education programs. She will miss her family, our associates and the community greatly. Carol has a generous heart and a kind soul. Her efforts will continue to improve the lives of others for generations.”
Barnett has close ties to Florida Southern College, where she attended. In the decades since, Barnett – along with her husband Barney Barnett – are said to have donated millions of dollars to the campus.
The school created the Carol Jenkins Barnett Center for Early Childhood Learning and Health in 2020. It offers a “unique interdisciplinary program to positively impact young children’s learning experiences,” according to the Florida Southern website. College.
In recent years, Lakeland Regional Health has established the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion for Women and Children.
She and her husband are also involved in the development of the 160-acre Bonnet Springs Park under construction in Lakeland. Her family is asking for donations to the park in lieu of flowers.
Barnett is survived by her husband Barney Barnett and her two sons, Nicholas and Wesley Barnett.
A memorial service is scheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 11 at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland. Service will streaming for those unable to attend in person.
https://kfor.com/news/carol-jenkins-barnett-publix-heiress-and-philanthropist-dies-at-65/ Carol Jenkins Barnett, Publix heiress and philanthropist, dies aged 65