Kroc was raised in Oak Park, Illinois as the oldest of three children by his parents – both midlevel executives at American District Telegraph, while his mother worked part-time teaching piano – living on modest means.
Once he left high school, he forged ahead with a career in sales while also performing piano gigs on the side. Rising through the ranks at Lily Tulip Paper Cup Company to become Midwest Sales Manager was only natural.
Early Life and Education
Raymond Albert Kroc was born in Oak Park, Illinois – a suburb of Chicago – on October 5, 1902. After attending public schools for three years he opted out at 15 to work as an ambulance driver with the Red Cross during World War I.
Kroc learned his trade as a salesman at both his uncle’s soda fountain and later at a paper cup company where he rose quickly through their ranks as top salesperson. To supplement his income he also sold ribbon novelties and hosted piano nights at local radio stations.
He married his high school sweetheart Ethel Fleming in 1922, and they had one daughter together named Marilyn. However, they ultimately parted ways in 1961 following an argument over finances. On 14 January 1984 in San Diego he died from heart failure; his estate was then distributed among charities that supported research on diabetes (which caused her daughter’s death), arthritis, and multiple sclerosis research projects. Joan Kroc inherited his fortune to support such causes as research into these illnesses (diabetes had killed Joan’s daughter), arthritis research projects as well as multiple sclerosis research projects using Joan Kroc’s fortune to support research into diabetes (which killed her daughter in 1973), arthritis and multiple sclerosis research efforts by charities like Diabetes San Diego Inc).
Throughout the 1920s and Great Depression, he worked at various jobs such as selling paper cups, operating a Chicago radio station, selling real estate in Florida, playing piano for bands to earn extra income and playing violin in bands to augment his income.
Kroc refined his salesmanship and, in 1938, met Earl Prince who created a multimixer capable of creating five milk shakes at once – helping McDonalds increase volume and decrease costs simultaneously.
Ray Kroc was a master at franchising, making the Golden Arches an American roadside staple with his expertise and war stories still revered today by self-declared sales gurus on LinkedIn and in boardrooms globally. Additionally, his generosity enabled funding research on diabetes as well as supporting art.
Achievement and Honors
The foundation organizes conferences at his J & R Ranch, while providing grants to researchers studying diabetes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis and other health-related topics. Furthermore, they sponsor endowed professorships at several universities both domestically and abroad.
Kroc is an American businessman and entrepreneur best known for founding McDonald’s fast-food restaurant chain, one of the most beloved fast food franchises worldwide. Additionally, he is an ardent philanthropist having donated millions to numerous charitable and non-profit organizations over his lifetime.
Once retired as CEO of McDonald’s in 1973, Kroc turned his focus to baseball by purchasing the San Diego Padres, a national league team in San Diego. Fans gave Kroc an enthusiastic standing ovation before their home opener when he told fans “With God’s help and yours tonight we’ll give them hell tonight”. They ultimately made it all the way to the World Series but unfortunately Kroc died four years later.
At age 15, Kroc dropped out of Oak Park High School to join World War I. Lying about his age, he entered a Red Cross ambulance driver training program but the war ended before its completion; after this experience was complete he worked as both pianist in nightclubs and real estate salesman in Florida.
Kroc met Richard and Maurice McDonald at a ribbon novelties convention and sold eight “multimixers,” which could produce five milkshakes at once, to them.
Kroc was married twice: to Ethel Fleming (1922-1961) and Joan Beverly Mansfield (1963-1969). Each wife gave him one daughter; Kroc was known for his generosity, donating millions to local organizations as a philanthropist and founding the Kroc Foundation which funded diabetes (which claimed his daughter Marilyn’s life), arthritis, and multiple sclerosis research.
Raymond Albert Kroc was born in Oak Park, Illinois in 1902. Initially he started driving ambulances during World War I before exploring other opportunities before eventually opening a McDonald’s franchise.
He was responsible for expanding his company from a small enterprise into the world’s largest fast-food chain, and became widely known for his generous charitable giving – giving millions away to various causes. Furthermore, he owned the San Diego Padres baseball team from 1974-1984.
Kroc was a Republican who strongly believed in self-reliance and opposed government welfare programs. An avid sports fan who also enjoyed golfing and flying, when he passed away his widow Joan had amassed over $3 billion – however almost all of it was given away to charity after his passing away in 1984.