Joan Kroc, Ray Kroc’s Wife: All About The American Philanthropist

Great minds make a living by what they get and make a life by what they give. Joan Kroc is a rare gem who beautifully touched several lives through her benevolent deeds. Aside from gaining recognitions through her works which spoke volumes of her great personality, she was also known as the third wife of the business magnate, Raymond Albert “Ray” Kroc, who contributed hugely in making McDonald’s the most successful fast-food corporation in the world. Following the death of her husband in 1984, Joan inherited so much wealth which she eventually gave up for charity purposes at the time of her demise. Get to learn more about the prestigious philanthropist below.

Joan Kroc’s Bio

Ray Kroc’s wife made her arrival into the world in West St. Paul, Minnesota, United States. She was born as Joan Beverly Mansfield to her parents, Charles Smart Mansfield and Gladys Bonneville Mansfield on 27th August 1928. Her father worked as a salesperson and store manager while her mother was an instrumentalist and music instructor who attended MacPhail School of Music where she studied Music.

Facts About The American Philanthropist, Joan Kroc

Her Personal Life

Prior to getting married to the Chief Executive Officer of MacDonald’s Corporation, Ray Kroc, Joan was previously married to a veteran in US Navy named Rawland F. Smith. She tied the knot with him in 1945 and moved on to welcome their daughter, Linda the next year. In 1969, she formally got separated from her first husband. Soon afterward, she came in contact with Kroc in the same year as they met at a conference held by the American fast-food corporation, MacDonald’s. Meanwhile, the pair had previously met in Minnesota in 1957 at the Criterion Restaurant but were respectively married at the time. So, when they met for the second time in 1969 and realised they were single, they proceeded to seal their love with a nuptial bond in the same year.

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 Joan Kroc
Juan Kroc and Ray Kroc (image source)

Although Joan and her husband didn’t have any child together, she was the stepmother of Marilyn Kroc who was born in 1924 when her husband was married to his first wife, Ethel Fleming. Kroc, on the other hand, had been in two marriages before gointo into matrimony with the great philanthropist who became his third wife.

Joan Kroc’s Benevolent Acts

Joan Kroc began with her charity works in 1976 when she launched Operation Cork in California with the aim of informing medical practitioners about the risk of alcohol use disorder. After the death of her husband, she sold their professional baseball club, San Diego Padres which she co-owned with Kroc and used the proceeds from the sales to sponsor many charitable works. Before selling the franchise, Joan, who was gifted with a magnanimous spirit, wanted to give the club to the city of San Diego but her actions were restricted by the rules of the Major League Baseball which prohibit ownership of a team by the public.

Through her self-named foundation, she sponsored the development of the hospice center of San Diego Hospice Corporation by making a donation of $18.5 million. She further funded the opening of a community center referred to as Kroc Center for a Protestant Christian Church which is also an international charitable organization known as The Salvation Army with the sum of $87 million. She then moved on to establish the community centre across the United States by donating an additional sum of $1.6 billion.

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Joan Kroc loved to carry out her benevolence anonymously but most organizations still publicize her works in order to encourage others to donate. In addition to her charitable deeds, Joan anonymously donated $15 million to help curb the damages caused by the 1997 Red River flood in Minnesota, North Dakota, and as a result of her kind gesture, she is highly esteemed by the people of North Dakota. Even after her demise, she still touched the lives of many as she allotted huge money to several organizations through her will.

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Recognitions and Honors

As a result of her works in the society, Joan Kroc was inaugurated into the Hall of Fame of San Diego County Women in the year 2004. Later in 2009, she was appointed as one of California’s Hall of Famers. In addition, many institutions are named after her and they include Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, St. Vincent de Paul Joan Kroc Center for the Homeless and others.


Ray Kroc’s wife succumbed to a brain tumor in October 2003 when she was 75 years old in California. Her body was cremated with most of her ashes deposited in a tomb located at the El Camino Memorial Park Cemetery, San Diego.

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