Other Notable Deaths


May 27, 2008


Businessman, philanthropist

J.R. Simplot, Idaho's richest man and a state icon, died of pneumonia Sunday at his home.

A farmboy who never attended high school, Mr. Simplot built a personal fortune recently estimated at $3.6 billion. He and the company he founded all but reinvented the humble potato, creating the first successful frozen french fries and partnering with McDonald's to sell them worldwide. The private company he began became one of the largest agribusiness conglomerates in the world.

As a philanthropist, he gave money to countless Idaho causes.

Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt said Mr. Simplot was among the most important figures in the state's history.

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