Joan Kroc 1928-2003

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Joan Kroc 1928-2003

Joan Kroc emerged from modest beginnings to become a leading philanthropist. Born Aug. 27, 1928 in St. Paul, Minn., Joan Beverly Mansfield’s father worked for a railroad and her mother was an accomplished violinist. She was the older of two girls.

By 15, Joan was teaching music. She was a professional musician and music teacher for many years.

Although an early marriage in 1945 later ended in divorce, Joan was blessed by the birth of a daughter in 1946.

Joan met Ray Kroc in 1957 in a St. Paul restaurant, where she was playing the organ. Kroc had just two years earlier opened his first McDonald’s hamburger stand in Des Plaines, Ill.

After marrying in 1969, the Krocs lived in Chicago until 1976, when they moved to San Diego. Two years earlier Ray had purchased the San Diego Padres baseball team.

Ray and Joan had 15 years together before his death in 1984 at age 81.

After Ray’s death, Joan took over as Padres owner until 1990, when she sold the team to spend more time with her family. She was also generously supporting issues of social significance—locally, nationally and internationally—following Ray’s credo to “give something back to the community.”

She died at her home in Rancho Santa Fe on Oct. 12, 2003, leaving behind her daughter, four granddaughters, four great-grandchildren, and her sister.

A life dedicated to pursuing peace

A life dedicated to pursuing peace

Teamwork skills are taught at the Kroc Center Steadfast in her desire to help



by Carol Seiler, Major –  Families enjoy the pool at the Kroc Center

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