Joan Kroc

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Joan B. Kroc)

Joan Kroc
Joan Beverly Mansfield

(1928-08-27)August 27, 1928
DiedOctober 12, 2003(2003-10-12) (aged 75)
Rancho Santa Fe, California, U.S.
Resting placeEl Camino Memorial Park
Sorrento Valley, San Diego, California
Political partyDemocratic[1]
Rawland F. Smith
(m. 1945; div. 1969)
(m. 1969; died 1984)

Joan Beverly Kroc (née Mansfield, previously Smith; August 27, 1928 – October 12, 2003), also known as Joni,[2] was an American philanthropist and third wife of McDonald's CEO Ray Kroc.

Early life[edit]

Joan Beverly Mansfield was born on August 27, 1928, in West St. Paul, Minnesota. Her father, Charles Smart Mansfield,[3] was a store keeper and later a railroad telegraph operator and salesman.[4]

Marriage and family[edit]

In 1945, Mansfield married Rawland F. "Rollie" Smith,[5][6][7] a Navy veteran who would become a McDonald's franchisee, eventually owning three stores in Rapid City, South Dakota. The couple's only child, a daughter named Linda, was born the following year.[8]

Mansfield met McDonald's Corp. founder Ray Kroc, who was 26 years senior to her, while playing the organ at the Criterion Restaurant in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1957.[9][10] Ray said in his autobiography that he "was stunned by her blonde beauty". They were both married at the time. They met again at a McDonald's conference in 1969 and, within six months, they divorced their spouses and married each other. Following Kroc's death in 1984, she inherited his fortune.[11]


External video
video icon Ray and Joan, 57:59, Lisa Napoli discusses her book on C-SPAN[12]

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 and the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies- the world's top peace institution- at the University of San Diego, the St. Vincent de Paul Joan Kroc Center for the Homeless (Part of Father Joe's Villages- San Diego's largest organization helping the homeless) in downtown and the Kroc–Copley Animal Shelter in the Morena District. Additionally, Joan established and endowed University of Notre Dame's Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.[13] Kroc preferred to give donations anonymously, but recipient organizations often insisted on publicizing her gifts, hoping to attract new donors.[14]

As the Padres owner, Kroc started Major League Baseball's first employee-assistance program for players and staff with drug problems.[15]

Kroc was also politically active. In 1985, she spent millions of dollars in support of nuclear disarmament, which included reprinting the book Missile Envy by Helen Caldicott, as well as publishing ads in major newspapers calling for disarmament. She anonymously gifted a Paul Conrad sculpture depicting a nuclear mushroom cloud, Chain Reaction, to the city of Santa Monica, where it still sits today. Because of her public no-nukes work, Cal Thomas, a conservative syndicated columnist, called her a "McNut."[14]

Kroc is affectionately known by the citizens of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and East Grand Forks, Minnesota, as the "Angel" because of her anonymous $15 million donation to assist the cities after a devastating flood occurred there in 1997. She was revealed as the source of the funds after reporters tracked down ownership of the jet that she used to fly into the area to survey the damage.[16]

After her death in 2003, it was announced that Kroc had left the majority of her estate to the Salvation Army for the purpose of building recreation centers all across the nation. Another of her major donations was $225 million to National Public Radio (NPR)[17][18] including $5 million to her local public radio station, San Diego's KPBS.[18]

Death and legacy[edit]

Kroc died of brain cancer on October 12, 2003, at Rancho Santa Fe, California, at the age of 75. She was cremated and most of her remains were entombed at the El Camino Memorial Park in Sorrento Valley, San Diego.[19]

Her will included significant bequests for a number of organizations:

In popular culture[edit]

The biography Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made The McDonald's Fortune and The Woman Who Gave it All Away, published by Dutton in 2016 and written by Lisa Napoli, examines the Krocs' relationship.

Kroc is portrayed by actress Linda Cardellini in the 2016 American biographical drama film The Founder.[21]


  1. ^ "'Ray And Joan' Chronicles Complex Life Of Kroc's Philanthropic Wife". Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  2. ^ Anderson, Robert; Kroc, Ray (1987). Grinding it out : the making of McDonald's (St. Martin's pbk. ed.). [New York]: St. Martin's Paperbacks. ISBN 0-312-92987-0. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  3. ^ HARRIS, SCOTT (October 13, 1985). "Dismayed by Nuclear Arms Race : McDonald's Fortune Fuels Joan Kroc's Peace Effort". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  4. ^ "Joan and Ray Kroc's St. Paul love story – and why she gave away her McDonald's fortune". January 7, 2017. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  5. ^ Napoli, Lisa (2016). Ray and Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald's Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away. Penguin. p. 368. ISBN 978-1-101-98495-6.
  6. ^ Napoli, Lisa (November 15, 2016). Ray & Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald's Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away. Penguin. ISBN 978-1-101-98496-3. Retrieved April 1, 2018 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "The Founder (2017)". History vs. Hollywood. 2016. Archived from the original on August 8, 2016. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
  8. ^ John A. Drobnicki, "Kroc, Joan B.," in The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Vol. VII: 2003–2005 (Scribner's, 2007), p. 316.
  9. ^ "McDonald's". St Louis Park Historical Society. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
  10. ^ Cramer, John D. (September 14, 1990). "Family Friend Arrested on Suspicion of Kidnaping Daughter of McDonald's Exec". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 29, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
  11. ^ Van Kley, Brian. "Kroc, Joan". Learning to Give. Archived from the original on April 16, 2017. Retrieved May 27, 2021.
  12. ^ "Ray and Joan". C-SPAN. November 20, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
  13. ^ "The Peace Racket". City Journal. Archived from the original on September 13, 2007. Retrieved April 1, 2018.
  14. ^ a b John A. Drobnicki, "Kroc, Joan B.," in The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Vol. VII: 2003–2005 (Scribner's, 2007), p. 317.
  15. ^ Cohen, Hannah S.; Harris, Gloria G. (2016). Remarkable Women of San Diego: Pioneers, Visionaries and Innovators. Arcadia Publishing. p. 84. ISBN 978-1-62585-726-2.
  16. ^ "Joan B. Kroc, North Dakota's "angel," dies at 75". Associated Press. October 12, 2003. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  17. ^ Janssen, Mike (May 24, 2004). "Kroc gift lets NPR expand news, lower fees". Current. Archived from the original on March 22, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  18. ^ a b "NPR Receives a Record Bequest of More Than $200 Million". NPR. November 6, 2003. Archived from the original on December 2, 2003. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  19. ^ Potter, Matt (April 22, 2004). "Cremains of the day". San Diego Reader. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
  20. ^ a b c d Tony Perry (January 31, 2004). "Philanthropy That Was Deeply Personal". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
  21. ^ Palmeri, Christopher (January 6, 2017). "Sex, Lies, and Hamburgers: McDonald's and the Krocs". Bloomberg News. Archived from the original on January 6, 2017. Retrieved May 26, 2021.

External links[edit]