A memorial service for Debbie McDonald, director and executive committee member on the J.R. Simplot board of directors, is set for Saturday, March 19, in Boise.
McDonald, who was active in the Boise community, died Saturday after an extended illness, according to a statement from the J.R. Simplot Co. Other sources said that McDonald died of colon cancer. McDonald was the granddaughter of J.R. Simplot.
Her service is set for 11 a.m. Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at St. John's Cathedral, 775 N 8th St., Boise. Burial will take place at Morris Hill Cemetery following the service. Arrangements are with Summers Funeral Homes.
According to the statement issued by the company, McDonald “was passionate about preserving her grandfather’s legacy and assuring company leadership always did the right thing for the company. Debbie was never one to seek the spotlight. She had a straightforward and down-to-earth style that made her approachable to everyone.”
McDonald joined the board of directors in 2003 following 16 years at Simplot Food Group where she served in various sales and marketing positions. McDonald served on the boards of St. Joe’s Catholic School and the Idaho Community Foundation. She was a past president of the Bishop Kelly Foundation and was a board member of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, the Red Cross, Ballet Idaho and the Bishop Kelly Board of Governance.
Rita Franklin, executive director of the Bishop Kelly Foundation, said McDonald’s friends in the Bishop Kelly community “are heartbroken.”
“What impressed everyone she worked with at BK was her kindness, her humility, and her work ethic. When she was first asked to consider a position on the board, she wanted to make sure that we wanted her for what she could do for the school, not for her family name,” wrote Franklin in a statement. “And she was true to her word. She always did whatever needed to be done, always came through ... Although she was part of a well-known family, and very dedicated to the Simplot Company, she was always Debbie McDonald to us, great board president, great wife and mother, great friend.”
Company spokesman Ken Dey said that no decisions have been made about McDonald’s successor. The announcement will come at a later date, said Dey.