Billionaire businessman and philanthropist David Rockefeller has died on Monday at the age of 101. He was the last in his generation of one of the country’s most famously philanthropic families.
According to his spokesman, Fraser P. Seitel, Rockefeller died in his sleep at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York.
He was the grandson of John D. Rockefeller, Standard Oil co-founder, and the John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s youngest child.
Rockefeller became the guardian of his family’s fortune after the passing of his sister and brothers. He was also the head of an extensive network of family interests, both business and philanthropic, that ranged from environmental conservation to the arts.
In June 2015, he celebrated his 100th birthday by giving 1,000 acres of land next to a national park to the state of Maine.
Rockefeller children’s upbringing was famous. He gave them a 25-cent allowance, portions of which had to be set aside for charity and savings. This taught him and his siblings that wealth brings great responsibility.
Two of his brothers ventured into politics. Nelson Rockefeller served as the governor of New York, aimed for the White House and briefly served as vice president, while Winthrop Rockefeller was a governor of Arkansas.
David Rockefeller had many accomplishments, among them encouraging the project that led to the World Trade Center. He didn’t shy away from the spotlight, he embraced business, traveled, and spoke widely as a champion of enlightened capitalism.
In 1936, Rockefeller graduated from Harvard. He received a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago in 1940. He served in the Army during World War II. He worked at Chase Bank, which merged with The Manhattan Company in 1955.
A good capitalist:
In 1961, he became president of Chase Manhattan, eight years later he was named chairman and chief executive officer. In 1981 at age 65, he retired after a 35-year career
He disagreed with other capitalists over income taxes. Although he never said how much he paid in taxes nor spoke publicly about his personal worth. In 2015, Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at $3 billion.
Under Rockefeller Chase was the first US bank to have offices in both the Soviet Union and China. In 1974, it was first to open an office in Egypt after the Suez crisis of 1956.
Rockefeller helped the deposed, terminally ill Shah of Iran come to New York for medical treatment in 1979, the move that triggered the 13-month US embassy hostage crisis in Tehran.
Rockefeller preserved the family’s support of the arts, including its long-standing relationship with New York’s Museum of Modern Art, of which his mother had been an avid supporter. It was estimated that his private art collection was once valued at $500 million.
He received a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, in 1998 for his philanthropy and other activities
In 1940, Rockefeller and his wife got married. They had six children; David Jr., Richard, Abby, Neva, Margaret and Eileen.