Joseph Albertson (Founder, Albertsons Corporation)

Newspaper photo of Joseph Albertson

Burial Date: Jan. 22, 1993
Location: Section Q-149-1

Joe Albertson was the founder of Albertson's supermarkets (he built one store into a billion dollar chain) and a notable philanthropist.

After graduating from Caldwell High School in 1925, Albertson studied business for two years at the College of Idaho in Caldwell. While in college in 1927, he began his career in the grocery industry as a clerk at a local Safeway store. In 1930, Joe married his college classmate Kathryn McCurry, of Boise, Idaho.

Albertson quickly moved through the ranks with Safeway, until he was supervising more than a dozen stores. But he was not satisfied and wanted to start his own store-one that he could build to his own specifications and manage his own way. With $5,000 of the money he and Kathryn had saved, and with $7,500 borrowed from his wife's aunt, Albertson formed a partnership with L.S. Skaggs, a former Safeway division manager, and Tom Cuthbert, Skaggs' accountant. At the age of 32, Albertson opened his store in 1939 on three principles: quality, good value, and excellent service. Albertson is credited as being one of the pioneers of the complete one-stop, self-service supermarket concept.

Albertson opened his second and third Albertsons stores in Nampa and Caldwell, Idaho in 1940. During the years of World War II, when food was being rationed, he filled the empty shelves with health and beauty products, general household goods and other non-food items.

Albertson's reputation for generosity and community involvement grew during those war years. His stores promoted war bonds and sponsored scrap drives that collected aluminum, steel, fats, and paper for recycling.  Albertson's generosity continued throughout the years, with the College of Idaho receiving many donations from Joe and Kathryn and ultimately changing it's name to the Albertson College of Idaho for sixteen years from 1991 to 2007. Perhaps the most obvious gift to the citizens of Boise is the 41-acre Kathryn Albertson Park with its winding walkways, wildflowers, trees and ponds.

In 1966, Joe and Kathryn established the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation as a way to administer their own charitable giving. They focused their giving primarily on education, which was important to Joe and Kathryn because neither were able to finish college during the Great Depression. Since then, the foundation has given more than $240 million to Idaho's communities and education systems. The foundation continues to give to charities, primarily in areas where Joe and Kathryn lived or worked in Idaho.

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