Marilyn Kroc Barg: A Legacy of Philanthropy, Equestrian Passion & McDonald’s Success

Marilyn Kroc Barg, the daughter of Ray Kroc, played a pivotal role in the success of McDonald’s, the fast-food empire her father acquired from the McDonald brothers in 1961. Under Ray Kroc’s leadership as CEO from 1967 to 1973, McDonald’s expanded into a global phenomenon. Beyond the boardroom, Marilyn Kroc Barg significantly contributed to the company’s philanthropic efforts through her extensive community service. Her passion for horses led her to actively participate in equestrian competitions, where she excelled in horse breeding and showing. This demonstrated her multifaceted talents and influence, extending well beyond her contributions to the family business.

Who Is Marilyn Kroc Barg?

Marilyn Kroc Barg was born in 1924 to Ray Kroc, the pioneering force behind McDonald’s global success, and Ethel Fleming, who married Ray in 1922 after falling in love in 1919. The family moved to Chicago, where Marilyn, their only child, grew up. Despite her connection to McDonald’s, where she served on the board, Marilyn maintained a low profile, shunning media attention. She dedicated much of her life to philanthropy and community service, leaving a lasting impact beyond the business world.

Marilyn Kroc Barg Biography

Marilyn Janet Kroc, the only daughter of Raymond Albert Kroc, played a key role in McDonald’s success. Her father, Ray Kroc, famously turned the small McDonald brothers’ burger stand into a global fast-food empire. Her legacy, marked by substantial charitable contributions, highlights her dedication to societal betterment beyond the business realm.

Quick Information About Marilyn Kroc Barg

Facts Information
Full NameMarilyn Janet Lynn Kroc Barg
Known asMarilyn Kroc Barg
Famous asRay Kroc’s Daughter
ProfessionBusinesswoman and philanthropist
Date of BirthOctober 15, 1924
Place of BirthChicago Cook County, Illinois, United States
Date of DeathSeptember 11, 1973
Place of DeathArlington Heights, Cook County, Illinois
Place of BurialSkokie’s Memorial Park Cemetery
Marital StatusMarried
SpousesWalter James Barg
Ex-spouseSylvester Nordly Nelson
FatherRay Kroc
MotherEthel Fleming

Marilyn Kroc Barg Early Life

Marilyn Janet Lynn Kroc was born on October 15, 1924, in Chicago, Illinois, to Ray Kroc and his first wife, Ethel Janet Fleming. Raised as an only child, Marilyn’s childhood was marked by a modest upbringing in her hometown. Though specifics about her education are scarce, it is clear that her early life was deeply influenced by the simplicity and familial love that surrounded her.

How Old Is Marilyn Kroc Barg?

Marilyn was born on April 22, 1928, in Cook County, Chicago, Illinois, marking the beginning of her impactful yet brief life. She lived for 49 years, during which she left a significant imprint on those around her.

Marilyn Kroc Barg Education 

Marilyn Kroc’s academic background remains largely unknown. As the daughter of a prosperous businessman, she enjoyed a life of luxury.

Marilyn Kroc Barg Father: Ray Kroc

Raymond Albert Kroc, born on October 5, 1902, in Oak Park, Illinois, was a prominent American businessman renowned for his transformative impact on McDonald’s, the iconic fast-food chain. In 1961, Kroc acquired the company from the McDonald brothers and, as CEO from 1967 to 1973, elevated the brand to unprecedented success. His innovative approach revolutionized the fast-food industry, establishing McDonald’s as the leading global fast-food corporation by revenue. Kroc’s enduring legacy is a testament to his entrepreneurial vision and profound influence on international business practices.

Marilyn Kroc Barg Mother: Ethel Fleming

Ethel Fleming was born on December 25, 1890, in Ohio, USA. She became widely known as the first wife of Ray Kroc, the man behind McDonald’s success. Their marriage endured for 39 years before ending in divorce. Following their separation, Ethel largely retreated from the public eye. She passed away on December 26, 1965, in Miami, Florida, due to natural causes.

Marilyn Kroc Barg Career

Marilyn Kroc Barg was an influential figure within McDonald’s, serving on the board and significantly contributing to the company’s philanthropic efforts. Her dedication to charitable work demonstrated her deep commitment to aiding others and making a positive impact on society, extending beyond her family’s commercial legacy. Outside her professional achievements, Marilyn had a profound passion for horses. She actively participated in horse racing, breeding, and various equestrian sports, showcasing her diverse interests and well-rounded character.

Her father, Ray Kroc, was instrumental in transforming McDonald’s into a global powerhouse through his exceptional business acumen.

Marilyn Kroc Barg Husband

Marilyn Kroc Barg’s life was marked by her marriages to two remarkable men. Her first husband, Sylvester Nordly Nelson, was a courageous Minnesota native who served in the 363rd infantry during World War II. Born on September 1, 1916, in Wisconsin to Edward S. and Hanna E. Nordly Nelson, Sylvester’s life was tragically cut short when he passed away on October 6, 1960, at the age of 44.

Marilyn’s second husband, Walter James Barg, was born on May 3, 1920, in Evanston, Illinois. Raised by his parents, William Thomas Barg and Louisa R. Rapold Barg, alongside his siblings Eleanor and William Peter Barg, Walter chose a career in administration. His life was marked by his distinctive journey and accomplishments. Walter Barg passed away on June 17, 1984, at the age of 64, and he is buried at All Saints Catholic Cemetery and Mausoleum. Both of Marilyn’s husbands are fondly remembered by those who knew and loved them, their lives distinguished by notable achievements and memorable moments.

Children for Marilyn Kroc Barg 

The details of Marilyn Kroc Barg’s family, particularly her children, remain largely undisclosed, with limited information available in the public domain. Contrary to some online claims, there is no verified information suggesting that Marilyn Kroc Barg had a son named Douglas Barg; instead, this name appears to be associated with another Marilyn and her spouse from Pennsylvania, Herbert Barg.

While specific information about Marilyn Kroc Barg’s offspring has not been publicly shared, it is known that her father, Ray Kroc, had four grandchildren, suggesting a likelihood that one of these may have been Marilyn’s child. Ray Kroc’s third wife, Joan, also had a stepdaughter named Linda Smith. Given Marilyn’s preference for a private and low-profile lifestyle, the identities of her children remain uncertain to the broader public.

Marilyn Kroc Barg Health Struggles

She was encountered numerous challenges throughout her life, despite her significant achievements. Tragically, she passed away in 1973 at the age of 48 due to complications from diabetes. Her unwavering dedication and compassion continue to inspire those who were fortunate enough to know her.

Despite these obstacles, Marilyn’s resilience and strength were evident to all. Her life serves as a reminder of the power of perseverance and determination. As we reflect on her legacy, let’s commit to honoring her by striving to improve the quality of life for others through passion, purpose, and steadfast dedication.

Marilyn Kroc Barg Tragic Death

Marilyn Janet Lynn Kroc Barg passed away at the age of 48 on September 11, 1973, in Arlington Heights, Cook County, Illinois. She succumbed to complications related to diabetes, cutting her life tragically short. Marilyn’s final resting place is at Memorial Park Cemetery in Skokie, where family and friends gathered at Lauterburg & Dehler Memorial Home to remember her. Her legacy of generosity and charitable spirit continues to resonate, inspiring others long after her passing.

A Legacy Beyond McDonald’s

Marilyn Kroc Barg, daughter of the renowned businessman Ray Kroc, left a profound mark on the business world through her philanthropic efforts, passion for horses, and contributions to McDonald’s growth. Despite maintaining a private lifestyle, her impact on society and the business landscape continues to be felt, serving as an inspiration to those who value compassion and community support.

Marilyn Kroc Barg Net Worth

At the time of her death in 1973, Marilyn Kroc Barg had an estimated net worth of $1 million, whereas her father, Ray Kroc, amassed a fortune of approximately $600 million by the time of his passing in 1984.

Interesting Facts

  • Equestrian Enthusiast: Marilyn Kroc Barg had a deep love for horses, actively engaging in breeding, racing, and various equestrian sports, highlighting her multifaceted interests beyond business.
  • Philanthropy: Marilyn was committed to community service and philanthropy. She played a role in shaping McDonald’s charitable initiatives, aligning with her values of community support.
  • Board Membership: Marilyn served on the board of McDonald’s, contributing to the company’s strategic decisions with a quiet, thoughtful presence.
  • Marriage and Family: Marilyn was married twice, first to Sylvester Nordly Nelson and later to Walter James Barg. There’s a common misconception regarding a son named Douglas Barg, which is often associated with another individual.
  • Burial: She was laid to rest in Skokie’s Memorial Park Cemetery, Illinois.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About  Marilyn Kroc Barg

Q: Who were Marilyn Kroc Barg’s parents?

A: Marilyn’s parents were Ray Kroc, the founder of the global McDonald’s brand, and Ethel Fleming, Ray’s first wife.

Q: Did Marilyn Kroc Barg have any siblings?

A: No, she was the only child of Ray and Ethel Kroc.

Q: What was Marilyn Kroc Barg’s involvement in equestrian activities?

A: Marilyn had a strong passion for horses and actively engaged in horse breeding, racing, and various equestrian sports.

Q: How did Marilyn Kroc Barg die?

A: She was passed away due to complications from diabetes on September 11, 1973.

Q: Where is Marilyn Kroc Barg buried?

A: She is interred at Skokie’s Memorial Park Cemetery in Illinois.

Q: What was Marilyn Kroc Barg’s net worth at the time of her death?

A: At the time of her death, Marilyn Kroc Barg had an estimated net worth of $1 million.


Marilyn Kroc Barg, daughter of McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc, led a life marked by her contributions to the family business, philanthropic pursuits, and love of horses. Despite her father’s prominence, Marilyn embraced a modest lifestyle, prioritizing community service and charitable initiatives. Her involvement in McDonald’s philanthropic activities helped shape the company’s community-focused legacy. Additionally, Marilyn’s passion for equestrian sports showcased her diverse interests and well-rounded nature. Her untimely death at 48 due to diabetes complications was a significant loss, but her legacy continues to inspire, reflecting her impact on both the business world and society.

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