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Finding photos that tell the story of Carol’s life is as easy as finding a Publix in Florida, but deciding which ones to curate to create a dynamic, albeit incomplete gallery is much harder.

Below is just a small collection of some of the moments in time and timeless stories that the Barnett family was kind enough to share with The Lakelander. 

For friends and family, these photos will likely trigger other fun memories and take them back in time. 

For those who did not have the pleasure to know Carol and are not as familiar or familiar at all with the family, here is a little cheat sheet of who is telling the stories throughout this piece. 

Barney and Carol married in 1983. Her sons are Nick and Wesley. Nick is married to Ashley G. Barnett, and Wesley is married to Ashley B. Barnett.

A Love Story

Barney on meeting and eventually marrying Carol:

“The first time I met Carol...she would've been like 15 years old. She was at her brother David's baseball game. He was 12 and I was one of the coaches of the little league team. And so she came out there with her father. So that's the first time I ever met her. She was in high school and I was working for Publix.” 

“Then years later, she got married and was working at Publix. And then that's when I got to know her and her husband. Then later on she got a divorce and I got a divorce. And then later on we started dating and then we got married in 1983. So it was great because, you know, I was already friends with her father, but still, when you marry the boss's daughter, that's always dangerous. I was just fortunate that we were able to come together and get married and have a great marriage and have two great boys. Yeah, I've been very lucky.”

The Leader

Wesley, on what his mom taught him about leadership: 

"I would say being present and active...setting an example for others through your actions. She really believed in the causes that she was advocating for.

(She taught us to be) present and active...setting an example for others through your actions. She really believed in the causes that she was advocating for."

"They never wanted to name things after themselves...that was not something that they liked. In fact, whenever like the George Jenkins award or the Carol award or things like that would come along, they would always actually kind of shy away from it, being like, 'No, no, no, no, name it something else.' Well, Carol got in her mind that she was gonna surprise Barney with the Barney Barnett Business School at Florida Southern. But as much as...what a wonderful thing to do, he was kind of a little bit taken back because it's like, 'We don't name buildings... Carol, why'd you do that?' Then that's when he named the Carol Jenkins Barnett Pavilion (for Women and Children) at the hospital."

— Ashley B.

Nick on how his mom's generous spirit has inspired his own philanthropic efforts:

"I think [her philanthropic generosity] provided a link for us to George 'cause we didn't really have a chance to know him very well, really at all. And so to see how much she cared about this community, about the things she was passionate for, you could just see that she inherited that from her father who was very passionate about this community. So it felt like a link to that previous generation that we didn't really have otherwise."

Fun & Fearless

Carol was always up for a fun costume party, and Barney always tagged along — at least that's how he frames it.

“Carol loved costume parties and these boys like 'em too," Barney said, sitting next to his son. "I never did like them, but I had to go.” 

Nick fondly remembers his parents once dressing up as Gomez and Morticia from The Adams Family, and Barney surprisingly brought up an even more memorable occasion.

“One time in Junior League I had to dress up in a dress and dance," he said. "It was at the Polk Theatre and we were out in the alleyway — me and Tom Petcoff with our dresses on. Two rednecks tried to pick us up.”