May 20, 2004 by

Jack Eckerd


Categories: Business, Military, Politicians, Writers/Editors

jeckerd.jpgJack Eckerd decided to become a millionaire by the time he was 20. After graduating from Culver Military Academy in Indiana and serving as a pilot for the Army Air Corps during World War II, Eckerd moved to Florida and started working on his version of the American Dream.
In 1952, Eckerd borrowed $150,000 from his father, purchased three run-down drugstores in Tampa and turned them into a multibillion dollar empire. The Florida-based chain spread across the South and by 1975, consisted of 465 drugstores in 10 states. At that point, Fortune magazine tabulated Eckerd’s worth at $150 million.
Eckerd Corp. was sold to J.C. Penney for $2.6 billion in 1997. Even before he divested of his retail responsibilities, Eckerd was a generous philanthropist. He gave $10 million to Florida Presbyterian College (which was renamed Eckerd College in 1978), founded Eckerd Youth Alternatives, a non-profit organization to help troubled and at-risk youth, and contributed funds to the Ruth Eckerd Hall, a performing arts center in Clearwater, Fla., that was named after his wife of 57 years.
Eckerd also tried his hand at politics. The Republican ran for the Florida governorship twice and once for the U.S. Senate, but lost all three elections. He did serve as head of the General Services Administration from 1975 to 1977.
Eckerd co-authored two books: “Eckerd: Finding the Right Prescription” with Paul Conn, and “Why America Doesn

5 Responses to Jack Eckerd

  1. Martha Davis

    My father worked for Eckerd’s as a Pharmacist from 1969 until his death in 1989. Eckerds was differant then. Mr. Eckerd cared about his employees and their families. He was a very kind and gracious, down to earth person.
    I am sorry that this country,his family and friends have lost such a wonderful person.

  2. Robin

    Dear Mr. Eckard,
    I know ur not around any more but i attended your camp and u died the day i graduated isnt that some shit.. well u help alot of kids…. im sorry i stole that candy store ….email me back… love ya urs truely camp ekusumee

  3. Kevin Brooks

    My mother went to work for Mr. Jack Eckerd when he opened his 4th store. She worked for him for many years until she decided to become a full time Mom for a while. One comment about Mr. Eckerd she repeated often is he always remembered the name of every employee. She still speaks very highly of him to this day.

  4. guy henderson

    i just found out about jack eckerd. i was in sequoias at ekusumee. chief ron anundinson was my group counselor. chief randy joined our group afew months after i entered the camp. they both had things to say that i still remember. you both are cool people. i left camp and went on to spend half my life in prison. i have been out three years now. doing okay as far as not being criminal. hard to hold a job, but i figure i would rather be broke and in the free world than to be confined in a cage. it took a while to get my act together though now i do think of consequences. if chiefs ron and randy are still out there somewhere, give me a hollar.

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