Jackson Padgett, the former owner of Alibi Bar in Wilton Manors, died Saturday, January 18, 2020, at the Prisma Health Richland Hospital in Columbia, SC. He was 54 years old. Padgett, whose real name was Jack Lee Padgett Jr., had been ill for several weeks with a severe case of pneumonia.
Padgett moved to Fort Lauderdale from his small South Carolina hometown of Elloree—population 620—in 2003. A year later, he met his long-time partner Mark Negrete, and together they bought Bill’s Filling Station, a successful, but out-of-the-hood gay bar located near the train tracks on NE 11th Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. Named after original owner Bill Adkins, the bar became Padgett’s launch pad for notoriety, as his larger-than-life personality drew the LGBT community out of Wilton Manors and down NE 13th St.
In early 2007, Padgett and Negrete moved uptown by becoming co-owners with Georgie Kessinger, of Georgie’s Alibi, THE bar on Wilton Drive– eventually buying out Kessinger completely several months later. In a double play, that same year, they brought Bill’s Filling Station out of the dark and into the glow of Wilton Manors, by opening in the space occupied by Chardee’s, the area’s original gay supper club (currently The Eagle).
As his celebrity grew, so did Jackson Padgett’s philanthropy, with the non-profit Padgett/Negrete Foundation donating to animal and LGBT causes, while the Alibi Bar routinely opened its doors for fund-raising causes.
On October 13, 2013, Padgett was arrested for driving under the influence and possession of cocaine, charges to which, on December 17, 2014, he pleaded nolo contendre and was placed on supervised probation for a year. By that time, he had broken up with Negrete, sold the home they owned together, as well as their liquor license and ownership of Alibi and Bill’s Filling Station.
For a brief time, Padgett owned a share in Tropics Restaurant and Bar with Gary Hillis and Mark Taylor, after which he returned to his family in Elloree where he worked as the director of the Second Chance Animal Shelter in Manning, SC.
In addition to his mother, Christine Smith Padgett Allen, he is survived by three sisters, two stepbrothers, and two stepsisters.
Visitation is from 4 to 6 pm at the Fogle-Hungerpiller Funeral Home in Elloree on January 22, 2020, with graveside services at 2 pm on January 24, 2020 at the Boanerges Baptist Church Cemetery in Old Fort, TN.