J.R. Simplot's Legacy

Simplot was a natural athlete

Simplot rose early, watched the business news on the big-screen television in his bedroom and swam at least 20 laps nearly every morning.

“When we rode horses with him, we’d be getting off easy if we didn’t have to stop and help him pick up rocks and clear the trail,” granddaughter Debbie McDonald said. “You had to be a good skier to keep up with him, or he’d just meet you in the parking lot. He skied like he did everything else: He went all out.”

Dean Summers called him “the best natural athlete I’ve ever known. At 92, he could hit a golf ball 250 yards.”

“ … He was the best wing shot I’ve ever seen. He liked to shoot ducks high. Ilike to wait and watch them come in, so one day I told him to be a little more patient. He looked at me and said, ‘Damnit, I didn’t come down here to sit on my ass and freeze. I came down here to put some lead in the air.’ That was Jack’s philosophy of life. He didn’t come on this Earth to sit around. He came to do things and put some money out and make things happen.”

Summers spent a week in Mexico with the Simplots. They wore out 10 new packs of cards. Simplot shot par on several holes at a Mazatlan golf course. He danced 45 minutes non-stop with his wife, Esther, saying he liked “to pound that wood.” He was disappointed when they had to return to Idaho a day early – the day before his parasailing lesson.

This was just after his 92nd birthday.