Publix heiress Carol Jenkins Barnett dies at 65

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Carol Jenkins Barnett, George Jenkins' daughter and president of Publix Super Markets Charities, stands next to a movie poster for Mr. George at the Polk Theatre during the premier for the movie in 2014 in Lakeland.

LAKELAND, Fla. — Carol Jenkins Barnett, the daughter of George W. Jenkins, the founder of grocery chain Publix Super Markets,  died Tuesday night at age 65 of complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Barnett was diagnosed with younger-onset Alzheimer’s in 2016 at age 59. She died at home in the presence of family members, Publix said in a statement released Wednesday morning.

“The Publix family is deeply saddened by the loss of a great humanitarian and community advocate,” Publix CEO Todd Jones said in a news release. “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.”

Barnett was one of seven children of the Publix founder, who died in 1996.

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Carol Jenkins Barnett, a Lakeland philanthropist and daughter of Publix Super Markets founder George W. Jenkins, died Tuesday at age 65.

The Barnetts’ two grown sons, Wesley Barnett and Nicholas Barnett, both live in Polk County and have become prominent philanthropists as well, along with their wives, Ashley Bell Barnett and Ashley Gibson Barnett. Carol Barnett is also survived by three grandchildren, Raleigh, Birdie and Zoey.

“My mother had a passion for helping others, especially children,” Wesley Barnett said in a text message to The Ledger. “She felt privileged to be able to support many causes locally and beyond. Her father and mother instilled in her a sense of responsibility to her community and she has in turn taught that to my brother and me and our families by her shining example.

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