Ok, so it has taken me over 4 months to catch this little tidbit: J.R. Simplot died. Well when was someone going to tell me? It just goes to show that what happens when you leave a place: arguably one of the most important people in Boise died and I never heard about it.
Stu and I actually had dinner at Applebee's and sat adjacent to Simplot and his wife a few weeks before we left Boise.
For those who don't know (but really, how could you not?), Simplot took potatoes to a new level. His company patented the frozen french fry (think McDonald's) and it made him billions. At 99 he was the oldest billionaire on the Forbes 400 before he died. He was also listed at being the 89th richest person, coming in at somewhere near $3.6 billion.
A few years ago he donated his house (the one hill with green grass in the Boise foothills, with a flag that is so big you can see from an airplane... I know, I've looked for it) to the State to be used as a governor's mansion (though it's still empty). Nice gift though, huh?
Little bit of trivia too: Governor Butch Otter was married to Simplot's daughter Gay for 29 years. Ironically, Butchy met his current wife when she was Miss Idaho in 1991... she is 25 years his junior. He divorced Gay a year later. Coincidence? I think not.
Anywho, just a bit of info the late Simplot... might as well thank the man responsible for the yummiest way to consume potatoes! Thanks Jack!