Herb Peyton

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Herb Peyton
Herb Peyton at Gate River Run in 2008
Born (1932-01-06) January 6, 1932 (age 87)
Alma materUniversity of Florida
OccupationFounder of Gate Petroleum
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Marilyn Stephens (divorced)[1]
Virginia Gaines (divorced)
Marcy Murphy
ChildrenJohn Stephen (Marilyn)
Henry Hill, Jennifer Gaines (Virginia)
Forest, Sarah (Marcy)

Herbert Hill "Herb" Peyton (born January 6, 1932) is an American entrepreneur and founder of Gate Petroleum in Jacksonville, Florida, which had sales of $1.44 billion in 2008.[2] He is the father of John Peyton, current President of Gate and former Mayor of Jacksonville.

Company origins[edit]

Peyton bought his first gas station in 1960 and slowly expanded throughout the decade, diversifying when gas became scarce during the Arab Oil embargo of the early 1970s. Although he denies guilt, he pleaded "no contest" to charges of gasoline price-fixing in the 1970s, paying $90,000 in fines.[3]

In 1997, he acknowledged owning 80 percent of Gate Petroleum, with the remaining 20 percent belonging to "the Brothers"; long-term employees (men and women) who were instrumental in the company's growth,[3][4] which had 2006 revenues of over U.S. $1.28 billion.[5]

In 2001, The Florida Times-Union reported that Peyton, "pushing 70, is a larger than life figure who competes in triathlons and does at least one six-mile run every week, as well as a one-mile swim far out beyond the surf line".[6] He has five children from three marriages; the oldest, John Peyton, is currently President of Gate and previously served two terms as Mayor of Jacksonville from 2003 to 2011.[6] Herb Peyton attended the University of Florida, and was a member of the class of 1956.[3]

Civic involvement[edit]

Herb Peyton was a trustee of the Alfred I. duPont Testamentary Trust since January 18, 1995 to January 31, 2017. He also serves on the Nemours Foundation Board of Directors.[7] Peyton was elected as a director of Florida East Coast Industries and St. Joe Company in December 2000 and provided the benefit of his experience through 2004, when he retired from both boards.[8][9] Peyton was named an honorary director of Dreams Come True[10] in recognition of his contribution of land and construction material for the non-profit's new headquarters in 2002.[11]

In 2004, the National Association of Office and Industrial Properties chapter in Northeast Florida presented the William Drennon Lifetime Achievement Award to Peyton.[12]

Peyton made a $1 million gift to the Bolles School in 2006, the largest capital donation in school history. The money was used to construct a facility for the school's Crew team, named the Peyton Boathouse.[13][14] The Bolles boys and girls Crew teams have each won five state championships.

Since its founding in 1993, he was a member of the Jacksonville Non-Group, which evolved into the Jacksonville Civic Council.[15]


In a January 9, 2009, interview in the Jacksonville Daily Record, Mayor John Peyton was asked about his plans for 2011 when his term ends. He responded:

"I’m going back to Gate and rejoin the family business. I’m looking forward to that. I told dad (Herb Peyton) that he has saved a lot of money because he hasn’t had to pay me for eight years. I think my father is very eager to retire. He wasn’t excited about me running for a second term. If it had been his choice, I would have gone back [to Gate] sooner."[16]

On January 3, 2012, three days before his 80th birthday, Herb Peyton retired as Gate's President and became Chairman, taking a less active company role. He named son John as company president and son Hill as vice president of marketing. When asked about his future involvement, Peyton indicated that he would not be involved with the daily operations, but would "help when needed and offer advice when asked--and on occasion, when not asked."[17] He also intends to continue his training and fitness regimen, which includes swimming and running nearly every day.


  1. ^ "Wedding: Pearson-Peyton", Archived 2012-09-11 at the Wayback Machine. St. Augustine Record, June 8, 2003.
  2. ^ America's Largest Private Companies, Forbes Magazine, November 3, 2008.
  3. ^ a b c Finotti, John: [1] Archived 2011-08-12 at the Wayback Machine. "Gate tycoon reveals self, business secrets", Florida Times-Union, July 20, 1997.
  4. ^ Hoovers fact sheet on Gates Petroleum, retrieved November 19, 2007.
  5. ^ #332 Gate Petroleum, Forbes magazine list of 500 largest private companies, November 9, 2006.
  6. ^ a b Barker-Benfield, Simon: [2][permanent dead link] "John Peyton finds his place, awaits keys to Gate empire", Florida Times-Union, July 14, 2001.
  7. ^ Alfred DuPont Trust website: Trustees. Archived 2009-04-20 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Barton, Susanna: [3] "Peyton joins FECI board", Jacksonville Business Journal, December 5, 2000.
  9. ^ "The St. Joe Company Announces Election of Two New Members to Board of Directors", Business Wire, February 10, 2004.
  10. ^ Dreams Come True website, Staff & Board
  11. ^ Gellady, Jessica: [4] "Dreams Come True dedicates new building", Jacksonville Business Journal, September 3, 2002.
  12. ^ Geddes, Ryan: "Gate buys Cummer tract", Jacksonville Business Journal, January 16, 2004.
  13. ^ "Peyton donates $1 million to Bolles", Jacksonville Business Journal, May 19, 2006.
  14. ^ Snell, Bob: [5] "Peyton Gives $1M to Bolles", Florida Trend, July 1, 2006.
  15. ^ Harding, Abel: "Group disbands, launches Jacksonville Civic Council", Florida Times-Union, March 5, 2010.
  16. ^ "A conversation with Mayor John Peyton", Jax Daily Record, January 9, 2009.
  17. ^ Bull, Roger: "Herb Peyton retires as president of Gate Petroleum; John Peyton to take over" Florida Times-Union, January 4, 2012.

Further reading[edit]

  • Newboy: the Autobiography of Herbert Hill Peyton, Gate Petroleum Co, January 1997, ISBN 0-9658277-0-4.