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  Eckerd, Jack
NameJack Eckerd
Clearwater, Florida , United States
Born May 16, 1913
DiedMay 19, 2004 (91 years)
ContributorThomas Walker
Last ModifedRBH
Jul 15, 2015 05:40pm
InfoBorn in Wilmington, Delaware, he took over his father's drugstore business and expanded in the 1950s and married Ruth Binnicker Swann in 1957. Along with his wife, he founded Eckerd Youth Alternatives in 1968 to help troubled youths. In 1970, he launched his first bid for governor, losing in the Republican primary to Claude Kirk. The next year, Florida Presbyterian College was renamed Eckerd College to honor him for his contributions. He then very narrowly lost a Senate race in 1974 and was appointed by President Ford administrator of the General Services Administration. He again ran for governor in 1978 with Paula Hawkins as his running mate, but ultimately lost to Bob Graham. Eckerd also wrote an autobiography that was published in 1987: "Eckerd: Finding the Right Prescription."


Jack Eckerd, 91, philanthropist, activist, and founder of the Jack Eckerd Corporation passed away on Wednesday, May 19, 2004, in the company of his family.

Starting in the 1950�s, he transformed the retail drugstore business, creating self-service stores and the chain bearing his name. He was a man of great faith and deeply believed that every child is entitled to an opportunity to succeed. In 1968 he and his wife, Ruth, founded Eckerd Youth Alternatives, one of the nation�s leading non-profit organizations offering therapeutic educational programs to troubled and at-risk youth. During his lifetime, more than 60,000 troubled youth have been helped in Eckerd Youth Alternatives� programs.

His active involvement in politics and service in both state and national government spanned thirty years and included appointments by both Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter as Administrator of the General Services Administration. He was also appointed to serve on the Grace Commission�s President�s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control by President Ronald Reagan. In 1981, Florida Governor Bob Graham appointed Mr. Eckerd Chairman of Prison Rehabilitative Industries & Diversified Enterprises, Inc., (PRIDE). He spearheaded Florida Governor Reuben Askew�s Management and Efficiency Study to improve the operation of state government. Mr. Eckerd proudly served as a trustee of the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., an institution promoting the principles of free enterprise. In 1986, he successfully led the �No Casinos� campaign to defeat casino gambling in Florida.

A guiding force in his community, Mr. Eckerd served as a trustee and interim president of Eckerd College, trustee of PACT, Inc, (Ruth Eckerd Hall) and as a former Deacon and member of the Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church in Clearwater, Fla. Over the years, he was involved with numerous organizations including the National Foundation for Youth, the National Association of Drug Stores, the Chamber of Commerce of the United States, Hillsdale College, Prison Fellowship Ministries, Culver Military Academy, the Capitol Hill Club, the National Audubon Society, the Florida Council of 100, the Republican Party of Florida and Rotary International.

Born on May 16, 1913 in Wilmington, Del., Mr. Eckerd graduated from Culver Military Academy and the Boeing School of Aeronautics. He was a pilot for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, receiving the Air Medal and Presidential Unit Citation. He was a member of the Hump Pilots Association, the organization of pilots and crews that served in the China-Burma-India Theatre that flew over the Himalayan Mountains known as the �Hump�.

Mr. Eckerd co-authored two books, Eckerd: Finding the Right Prescription with Paul Conn and Why America Doesn�t Work, with Chuck Colson. He received numerous awards throughout his life including, �Floridian of the Year� by the Orlando Sentinel; Child Advocate of the Year; the Florida Enterprise Medal; �Mr. Clearwater� by the Greater Chamber of Commerce, and the LeRoy Collins Lifetime Achievement Award by Leadership Florida.

In addition to his wife, Ruth, Mr. Eckerd is survived by seven children, William Eckerd, Bozeman, MT.; Rosemary Lassiter, Wilmington, DE., James Swann, Merritt Island, FL.; Kathy Swann Brooks, Tampa, FL.; Terrell Swann Clark, Tampa, FL.; Richard Eckerd, Asheville, NC; Nancy Eckerd Hart, Clearwater, FL.; 17 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Eckerd Youth Alternatives-Scholarship Fund, 100 N. Starcrest Dr, Clearwater, FL 33765. A visitation at Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church, Roebling Hall, will be held on Sunday, May 23, from 5:30 � 7:00 p.m. A memorial service will be held at Peace Memorial Presbyterian Church, 110 South Ft. Harrison in Clearwater on Monday, May 24 at 11:00 a.m.


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Importance? 7.00000 Average


  11/07/1978 FL Governor Lost 44.41% (-11.17%)
  09/12/1978 FL Governor - R Primary Won 63.84% (+27.68%)
  11/05/1974 FL US Senate Lost 40.91% (-2.46%)
  09/10/1974 FL US Senate- R Primary Won 67.48% (+34.97%)
  09/29/1970 FL Governor - R Runoff Lost 43.24% (-13.52%)
  09/08/1970 FL Governor - R Primary Won 38.37% (+0.00%)