Jennifer Garr was an Atlanta banker who made the biggest mark of her 32-year career with Trust Company of Atlanta, later to become SunTrust Bank, by helping the banking industry establish automated services the public now takes for granted — direct deposits, electronic bill payments and fund transfers.
As a SunTrust vice president, Mrs. Garr “helped businesses to grow, invest and even automate their accounting services,” said Nick Alex of Atlanta, a SunTrust senior vice president and director of product services. He said she also was SunTrust’s lead representative in working with the Atlanta Federal Reserve to develop policies and procedures for the new electronic transactions.
Mimi Breeden of Chamblee, a longtime friend and SunTrust colleague, said Mrs. Garr was an “amazing blend of smart, funny, competent, tenacious, quirky, kind and resilient. She was a steely eyed businesswoman who could be snarky and didn’t suffer fools, but she also was an incredibly inclusive and thoughtful person.”
Mrs. Garr studied at Georgia State University, graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor’s in business administration (majoring in accounting) and magna cum laude with an MBA in finance.
Jennifer Garr, 63, died Wednesday at her Atlanta residence of complications of multiple myeloma. Her memorial service is 4 p.m. Sunday at Haygood United Methodist Church, 975 East Rock Springs Road, Atlanta. Owen Funeral Home in Cartersville is in charge of arrangements.
During the 1990s Mrs. Garr took up running after she awoke one morning with the unsettling realization that she had entered middle age, said her sister-in-law, Karen Garr of Raleigh, N.C. She went on to run numerous times in full marathons, Thanksgiving Day half-marathons and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race.
She was featured in a May 16, 2010, Journal-Constitution article about her intention to walk the 6.2-mile Peachtree Road Race course after undergoing a series of four chemotherapy treatments and a stem-cell transplant following a diagnosis of multiple myeloma in October 2009.
To ready herself for the 2010 race, she hiked 1.3 miles a day for weeks through her Morningside neighborhood. On July Fourth, accompanied by her daughter and son, she achieved her goal, walking the entire route and looking fresh even at the end.
For Mrs. Garr, most holidays were occasions for exuberant cooking and decorating, said Karen Garr. “On Thanksgivings, Jennifer would run half-marathons in the mornings and host dinners for 25 or so people in the afternoons. There was always room at her Thanksgiving feasts for last-minute guests,” she said.
Her Christmases were no less a production, with a nearly 10-foot tree festooned with homemade ornaments and 5,000 lights. “I’m not exaggerating,” said her brother, Scott Coleman of Jackson, Ga. It also was her custom to fix elaborate Christmas brunches for close family members.
Survivors also include her husband of 43 years, David Garr; their daughter, Rebecca Garr of Athens; their son, Airman 2nd Class Sam Garr, stationed at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas; and another brother, Douglas Coleman of Lafayette, Ga.