J. R. Simplot Net Worth & Biography
|Popular Name:||J. R. Simplot|
|Real Name:||John Richard Simplot|
|Birth Date:||January 4, 1909|
|Birth Place:||Dubuque, Iowa, United States|
|Age:||Died on May 25, 2008 (aged 99)|
|Spouse(s):||Ruby Adeline Rosevear (m. 1931; div. 1960)
Esther Becker (m. 1972)
|Profession:||Businessman, Entrepreneur, Investor|
|Net Worth:||$3.7 Billion|
This is the biography and success story of J. R. Simplot, the late American entrepreneur who was known for the success he achieved with the J. R. Simplot Company, an agricultural supplier specializing in potato products. Simplot was the man who developed the first frozen French fry. His life was a real dream come true, as he achieved a phenomenal breakthrough and went from being a 14-year-old grade school drop-out with $80 dollars in his name to a baron with a fortune of over three billion US dollars at the time of his death. His success came from a small company eponymously called J. R. Simplot which he started as a twenty-year-old in 1929 and eventually transformed into the potato dehydrating plant worldwide. In 2007, Simplot was estimated to be the 89th-richest businessperson in the United States. He died in May 2008 at the age of 99 when he was the oldest billionaire on the Forbes 400 list. More details follow in the article below.
Early Life: Childhood, Family, Education
He was born John Richard Simplot in Dubuque, Iowa, United States, on January 4, 1909. The third of six children in the family of Charles R. and Dorothy (Haxby) Simplot, J. R. had to endure a really tough upbringing. The parents of both his paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather were English. Both of his paternal grandfather’s parents were French.
When he was one year old, their family relocated to homestead in the Magic Valley of south-central Idaho.
He had troubles with his autocratic father and had to leave school in the eighth grade in 1923 when he was 14 years old. He then worked on a farm and later developed a low-cost scheme for feeding hogs when the market collapsed. When the market recovered he sold his produce at a profit and ventured into the potato and vegetable processing business.
Professional Life: Entrepreneurial Career
He started the Jr. R. Simplot Company in 1929, and by World War II, the company had become the biggest shipper of fresh potatoes in the United States.
In 1967, he entered a deal with McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc whereby the Simplot Company would supply frozen french fries to the restaurant chain, and Simplot was able to supply frozen potatoes all year long. By 1972, the frozen fry venture had blossomed and propelled an expansion of Simplot potato processing plants. By 2005, Simplot supplied more than 50 percent of all french fries for the McDonald fast-food chain. Simplot also produces fertilizers for agriculture.
In 1973, he stepped down from his role as president of the J. R. Simplot Company but continued to serve as chairman until 1994. He maintained the title of Chairman Emeritus until his passing in 2008.
Further enhancing his mammoth wealth, the J. R. Simplot Company provided startup principal in the early 1980s for a Boise -based maker of computer memory chips known as Micron Technology. To also mention, Simplot invested heavily in Remington Oil. He financed the Brundage Mountain ski area near McCall in 1961. In 1995, the J. R. Simplot Company expanded into Australia where it acquired iconic food brands like Edgell, Chiko, Birds Eye, and Leggo’s.
Professional Life: Relationships, Wife, Children
R. Simplot was married twice during his lifetime. In the first instance, he tied the knot with Ruby Rosevear and they remained married for 29 years until their divorce in 1960. After four children for Simplot, Ruby suddenly left for another man and this resulted in their separation.
He later tied the knot with an opera singer named Esther Becker in 1972. They lived in the Grove Hotel building in downtown Boise near his company’s headquarters. The couple donated their hilltop home to the state of Idaho in 2004 for use as a governor’s mansion. The building, known as The Idaho House, was returned to the Simplot family in the year 2013 and was demolished three years later
While attending the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, in the company of his wife and son, on January 1, 2007, Simplot fell from his motorized scooter and suffered a cranial hematoma. He was taken to a hospital in Phoenix where he spent his 98th birthday. Simplot went back home several days later for further rehabilitation.
On May 25 2008, when he was 99 years old, J. R. Simplot died suddenly at his home with his wife at his side. He was survived by his wife, a daughter, Gay, and two sons, Don and Scott. His eldest son, Richard, died in 1993 at age 59.
Simplot was also survived by 18 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, and a great-great-grandchild.
J. R. Simplot Net Worth: Salary, Income Sources, Assets
Mr. Simplot lived as a successful potato farmer and billionaire who made his huge fortune from the success of his agricultural supply company, the J. R. Simplot Company, which dealt in potato production. His net worth at the time of his passing was estimated at $3.7 billion. He dropped out of school at the age of 14 and never completed his studies. However, his fortune turned around and he accomplished tremendous success in his lifetime, which eventually made him eligible to be listed on the list of the 100 richest people in the United States before his death in 2008 at the age of 99.