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Mark C. Hollis, retired Publix Super Markets president and director emeritus, has died at the age of 78.
Born and raised in Publix’s hometown of Lakeland, Fla., Hollis worked for the Southeast grocer for nearly 60 years, beginning in 1946 as a 12-year-old potato bagger. He worked in all areas of the company, including as a store manager, director of personnel, director of warehousing and distribution, and VP of public relations and public affairs.
In 1974, he joined Publix’s board of directors and was the company’s president from 1984 until 1996, when he was elected VP of the board. Hollis retired in 1999 but remained on the board until 2005, when he was named director emeritus.
“The Publix family is deeply saddened by the loss of a great leader and co-worker who made significant contributions to the growth and success of our company,” noted Publix CEO Ed Crenshaw. “Mark will be sorely missed by his family, our associates and the community. He was a Publix icon who had a way of captivating an audience when he spoke. Most recently, in February of this year, he addressed our Miami Division leadership team for their annual conference and spoke about not looking back on the good old days, but moving forward to the bright future of our company; a message that will long resonate with our managers.”
Hollis’ industry honors included the Sidney R. Rabb award, Food Marketing Institute’s highest recognition of supermarket industry leaders, in 1996. He was also chairman of the Florida Retail Federation, and, along with his wife of 57 years, Lynn, a dedicated philanthropist to various causes.
Survivors include Lynn; his three sons, including Publix VP of Public Affairs Clayton, and their wives; and 11 grandchildren. Memorial services will take place at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 2 p.m.
Privately owned and operated by its 152,000 associates, Publix has 1,067 stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee.