Who Is Marilyn Kroc?

Who Is Marilyn Kroc

Marilyn Janet Kroc was the only known child of Raymond Albert Kroc, a key player behind McDonald’s restaurants’ success. She was fondly called ‘Lynn,’ drawn from her first name and her second name from her mother. The question “Who is Marilyn Kroc?” instantly moves one to search for satisfying answers. The simple answer can easily be gotten, but many background information tied directly to Marilyn remains extinct. Either Marilyn was extremely good at keeping her life from being documented, or no one thought to do the work. My bet is on the former presumption.

To gather more details of Marilyn’s life requires shadowing parts of her parents’ life that seem relevant. Marilyn was born in 1924 to Ray and Ethel Janet Fleming in Chicago Cook County, Illinois, United States. She was born on October 15, a white Czech American. As a young woman, Marilyn had appealing facial features from pictures showing. She was certainly a physically beautiful woman, with curly hair and a charming smile.

Her father was born in v Nemocnici, Oak Park, Chicago. Her mother, Ethel Kroc (Fleming), was a budding actress upon marrying her father in the early 1900s. At the time, Ray was still a salesman before transcending into a businessman he was known as. Ethel was born in Ohio, USA. She attended the same high school, ‘Lincoln school’ as Ray, where they first met and became lovers. They got married in 1922 when Ethel was in her thirties and Ray 21, twelve years younger than her. Ethel had been married before and was at the peak of her career with her first husband. She had no child from that marriage. Ray’s business breakthrough surfaced after their marriage. Her union with Ray birthed one child, Marilyn. 

Although Marilyn’s father’s popularity is closely associated with McDonald’s restaurants, he was neither the founder nor the creator. However, the envisaged franchising as a strategy developing business helped actualize successful franchising of McDonald’s restaurants. Marilyn’s business life was not publicized, like a lot of information about her personal life. 

Her father opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in partnership with the McDonald brothers. He was the developer of the McDonald’s Corporation franchising program. The business model influenced mostly by Ray set the pace for other restaurants in the 1960s. McDonald’s model appeared to have been copied when a wave of new fast-food chains followed suit. Such chains include Burger King, Burger Chef, Arby’s, KFC, and Hardee’s. Ray’s branch of McDonald’s was then made into a museum in Des Plaines, Illinois, U.S. The museum was, however, shut down permanently in 2018.

His first wife, Ethel, became known for movies like “The Kiss (1916), Love Insurance, The Wonderful Thing (1921), and Love Insurance. She had appeared in no less than 16 movies soon after kicking off her career, before remarrying Ray. Ethel stopped acting for unconfirmed reasons after getting hitched to Ray. 

Marilyn’s father and mother have respectively given the world the foremost and successful fast-food franchise corporation and classic 90s movies starring veteran actors. In 1961, Marilyn’s parent’s forty-year-old marriage ended with a divorce. The cause was attributed to a difference in opinion for a business decision Ray was to take. 

There are little or no digital records on Marilyn’s married life aside from her husbands’ names. Like her father, Marilyn got married more than once, the first time to Sylvester Nordly Nelson, at age 24 on 27 Apr 1949. She is usually referred to as Marilyn Janet Kroc, and sometimes Marilyn Janet Barg, never Nelson. Her last name changed to Barg after getting married to James W. Barg. Marilyn got married a second time to James in 1960, a year before her parents split. She remained married to Barg until she passed. Also, no records of children from either marriage are in digital prints.

By 1974, Marilyn’s father, Ray Kroc, retired as CEO of Mcdonald’s. He was a multi-millionaire worth $600 million then. The Mcdonald’s chain had 7,500 outlets in the United States and 31 other countries and territories when he left. Marilyn seemingly lived a short life, much shorter than her father’s, at least. There was no mention of her involvement in her father’s business or what her career was. In comparison to Ray Kroc, not so much information has been written about Marilyn. 

One can safely say, Marilyn was known for being a renowned business man’s daughter. After Marilyn’s mother, Ray re-married two other women for five years each. Her mother, on the other hand, reportedly never remarried after they split. His first two marriages ended in divorce before he remarried Marilyn’s second stepmother, Joan. Marilyn was, of course, not the apparent heir to Ray’s fortune.

Marilyn had been cold in the ground for decades before Ray’s eventual death at 81. In 1973 at the age of 48, Marilyn Kroc died. She had before then been battling with diabetes that eventually took her life. Kroc died at Arlington Heights. Marilyn’s mother died of natural causes at age 75. Her father had struggled with alcoholism for a while. Following a stroke, he checked into an alcohol rehabilitation center in 1980. Ray died of heart failure at the age of 81. Ray remained married to Joan, his third wife, till his passing. Hence, being his survivor, Joan Kroc inherited his fortune to the tune of $500 million. Joan remained a notable philanthropist till her death in 2003. She was 75 at the time and lost a battle to brain cancer. Most of the Kroc fortune was disbursed at Joan’s discretion via philanthropy.

It should also be noted that her father had earlier established a foundation in their name that supported general medical research. ‘The Kroc Foundation’ was dedicated to supporting medical research on alcoholism and chronic diseases, including diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and arthritis.  The Foundation was established and active in 1967 through 1985, sponsoring conferences. These, in turn, bore several publications that were awarded more than 1600 research grants to institutions in the U.S. and eight foreign countries. Notably, the Krocs were renowned personalities for also dabbling in political matters and charitable acts.

Marilyn was buried in her home town, at Memorial Park Cemetery and Crematorium Skokie.

Who Is Marilyn Kroc?

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