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Publix's Charles Jenkins Sr. Dies

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Charles H. Jenkins Sr., a longtime executive of Publix Super Markets and father of the chain’s current c.e.o., passed away early yesterday morning at Lakeland Regional Medical Center. He was 90 years old.

After serving as a major in the United States Air Force, "Mr. Charlie," as he was known among his Publix family, began with the regional grocer in 1946 as a stock clerk in Lake Wales, Fla., at the company's second store, and his career traced the independent's rise to a major force in the Southeast.

Jenkins worked his way to assistant store manager and store manager, before moving into the buying department in 1952. He was elected to the board of directors in 1953, and in 1954 was promoted to v.p. and general manager. In 1972, he was elected president, and then chairman the following year. He served as chairman until 1985, and remained as a member of the board until 1996.

Born in Greenville, Ga., in 1915, Jenkins received a bachelor's degree in commerce from the University of Georgia in 1938. Throughout his lifetime, he was actively involved in the community. He served as president of the Lake Wales Chamber of Commerce, was a member of the Lake Wales Kiwanis Club, and a member of the board of directors of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. He also served as a trustee of Florida Southern College and as a director of the former Peoples Bank of Lakeland. He was a Mason and a Shriner. He was a member of First United Methodist Church.

In his free time, he enjoyed playing tennis; and was also an avid golfer, and a charter member of Lone Palm Golf Club in Lakeland.

Jenkins is survived by his son, Publix c.e.o. Charlie Jenkins Jr., of Lakeland, Fla.; his daughter, Jane Jenkins, of Tampa, Fla.; and three grandchildren: Jennifer Jenkins of Durham, N.C., Dr. Anthony Jenkins of Albuquerque, N.M., and Alexandra Jenkins of Lakeland. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mildred.

Memorial services will be held at First United Methodist Church at 4 p.m. on Friday, June 17. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to First United Methodist Church, 72 Lake Morton Drive, Lakeland, Fla., 33801.
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