by Art Levy
Updated 12 months ago
Mark Hollis, president of Publix Super Markets from 1984-96 and a co-founder of Florida TaxWatch, died Dec. 7. He had undergone surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2010.
Hollis was born in Lakeland, where Publix is headquartered, and graduated from Stetson University in 1956. He began his career at Publix at age 12, bagging potatoes. Under his leadership, the number of Publix stores almost doubled to more than 500 and sales tripled to $9.5 billion. He retired in 1999 but remained on Publix’s board until 2005. He served as director emeritus after that. He was also chairman of the Florida Retail Federation.
Hollis and his wife of 57 years, Lynn, were noted for their philanthropy, supporting the Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Florida Southern College and Stetson University, among other interests. They also funded the development of Hollis Gardens in downtown Lakeland.
Hollis had three sons and 11 grandchildren.