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Joan Kroc
Joan Kroc.png
Joan Kroc, Ray Kro's widow, was involved, like her husband, in many charities, which included the Ronald McDonald House and Ronald McDonald Children's Charities.
Vital Information
Gender: Female
Nationality American
Ethnicity Caucasian
Birthname Joan Beverly Mansfield
Born: (1928-08-27)August 27, 1928
Birthplace: West St. Paul, Minnesota, U.S.
Died: October 12, 2013(2013-10-12) (aged 85)
Deathplace: Rancho Santa Fe, California, U.S.
Alma Mater: N/A
Career information
Philanthropist, wife of McDonald's CEO Ray Kroc
1969-2013, her death
Appeared in/
Involved with:
Ronald McDonald Children's Charities
Ronald McDonald house

Joan Beverly Kroc (née Mansfield; August 27, 1928 – October 12, 2003) was the third wife of McDonald's CEO Ray Kroc and a philanthropist. She inherited his financial empire, which included ownership of the MLB team, the San Diego Padres of the National League (NL) upon his death, which was estimated at $500 million. She was also a major supporter of both the Ronald McDonald Children's Charities as well as the Ronald McDonald Houses.

Early life

Kroc was born on August 27, 1928 in West St. Paul, Minnesota. Her father, Charles Smart Mansfield, was a store keeper, later a railroad telegraph operator and salesman. Her mother, Gladys Bonnebelle Mansfield was born April 5, 1906 in Luck, Wisconsin to Herman Conrad Peterson and his wife Emma Bonnebelle. Joan's mother was an accomplished violinist. She studied music at the MacPhail School of Music in Minneapolis and started teaching at age 15.

Marriage and family

Ray and Joan Kroc, in the 1970's.

In 1945, she married Rawland F. Smith, a Navy veteran, who also was of McDonald's early franchisees. The couple's only child, a daughter named Linda, was born the following year.

Joan met McDonald's Corp. founder Ray Kroc while playing piano at a bar at a corporate party in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1957. Kroc said in his autobiography that he "was stunned by her blond beauty". After the two both divorced their spouses, they married in 1969. Following Kroc's death in 1984, she acquired his fortune.


The Joan B. Kroc Foundation donated $18.5 million to the San Diego Hospice Corporation (now known as San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine) in 1985 to create its multi-purpose hospice center. The donation covered the cost of planning, land acquisition (6.5 acres (26,000 m2)), construction and interior furnishings of the center.

In 2002, Kroc Center, a large Salvation Army community center that she helped fund—to the tune of $87 million—opened to the public. She later bequeathed an additional $1.6 billion to open Salvation Army Kroc Centers across the nation, the largest one-time gift ever recorded. Several institutions in the San Diego area are named after her, including the think tank Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego, the St. Vincent de Paul Joan Kroc Center for the Homeless in downtown and the Kroc-Copley Animal Shelter in the Morena District. America’s leading 'Peace' institution is probably the University of Notre Dame’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, established and endowed by Joan herself..[1] Kroc preferred to give donations anonymously, but recipient organizations often insisted on publicizing her gifts, hoping to attract new donors.[2] Kroc preferred to give donations anonymously, but recipient organizations often insisted on publicizing her gifts, hoping to attract new donors.

As the San Diego Padres owner, she started Major League Baseball's first employee-assistance program for players and staff with drug problems. In 1990, Joan sold the team to a group of businessmen led by television producer Tom Werner.


Joan was nominated and inducted into the San Diego County Women's Hall of Fame in 2004 hosted by the Women's Museum of California, Commission on the Status of Women, University of California, San Diego Women's Center, and San Diego State University Women's Studies.

Death and Legacy

Kroc died of brain cancer on October 12, 2003 at Rancho Santa Fe, California, at the age of 75. [3]

On August 25, 2009, actor and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and wife, journalist Maria Shriver, announced that Kroc would be one of 13 California Hall of Fame inductees in The California Museum's yearlong exhibit. The induction ceremony was on December 1, 2009, in Sacramento, California. Kroc is also featured in the Museum's "California Remarkable Women" exhibition, which was founded by Shriver in 2004.


  1. City Journal
  2. John A. Drobnicki, "Kroc, Joan B.," in The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Vol. VII: 2003-2005 (Scribner's, 2007), p. 317.
  3. Grace, Francine. "Joan Kroc dies of Brain Cancer", CBS, 13 October 2013. Retrieved on 9 August 2014. 

External links

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