Guardian of Rockefeller for­tune dies

Austin American-Statesman - - MORE OF TODAY'S TOP NEWS - By Deepti Hajela

David Rockefeller — was the last of his gen­er­a­tion in a fa­mous Amer­i­can fam­ily that taught its chil­dren that wealth brings great re­spon­si­bil­ity. Even as chil­dren, he and his sib­lings had to set aside por­tions of their al­lowances for char­i­ta­ble giv­ing.

That les­son lasted through­out his life; to mark his 100th birth­day in 2015, Rockefeller gave 1,000 acres of land next to a na­tional park to the state of Maine.

Rockefeller died Mon­day in his sleep at his home in Po­can­tico Hills at age 101, ac­cord­ing to his spokesman, Fraser P. Sei­tel.

He was the grand­son of Stan­dard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller and the youngest of five sons and one daugh­ter born to John D. Rockefeller Jr. He was also the guardian of his fam­ily’s for­tune and head of a sprawl­ing net­work of fam­ily in­ter­ests, both busi­ness and phil­an­thropic, that ranged from en­vi­ron­men­tal con­ser­va­tion to the arts.

Un­like his broth­ers Nel­son, the gov­er­nor of New York who hun­gered for the White House and was briefly vice pres­i­dent, and Winthrop, a gov­er­nor of Arkansas, David Rockefeller wielded power and in­flu­ence with­out ever seek­ing pub­lic of­fice. Among his many ac­com­plish­ments were spurring the project that led to the World Trade Cen­ter.

“No in­di­vid­ual has contributed more to the com­mer­cial and civic life of New York City over a longer pe­riod of time than David Rockefeller,” said Michael Bloomberg, a for­mer mayor and fel­low bil­lion­aire. “I have long ad­mired his com­mit­ment to the city, which be­gan with a dol­lara-year job work­ing as a sec­re­tary to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. Dur­ing my time in City Hall, he was al­ways there for the city when we called.”

David Rockefeller em­braced busi­ness, and trav­eled and spoke widely as a cham­pion of en­light­ened cap­i­tal­ism.

“Amer­i­can cap­i­tal­ism has brought more ben­e­fits to more peo­ple than any other sys­tem in any part of the world at any time in his­tory,” he said. “The prob­lem is to see that the sys­tem is run as ef­fi­ciently and as hon­estly as it can be.”

Rockefeller grad­u­ated from Har­vard in 1936 and re­ceived a doc­tor­ate in eco­nomics from the Univer­sity of Chicago in 1940. He served in the Army dur­ing World War II, then be­gan climb­ing the ranks of man­age­ment at Chase Bank. That bank merged with the Man­hat­tan com­pany in 1955.

He was named Chase Man­hat­tan’s pres­i­dent in 1961 and chair­man and CEO eight years later.

Rockefeller was es­ti­mated to have met more than 200 rulers in more than 100 coun­tries dur­ing his life­time, and of­ten was treated as if he were a vis­it­ing head of state.

In ad­di­tion to the phi­lan­thropy that “touched and lifted in­nu­mer­able lives,” Rockefeller’s “con­nec­tions and keen ap­ti­tude for is­sues made him a valu­able ad­viser to pres­i­dents of both par­ties — yours truly cer­tainly in­cluded,” said for­mer Pres­i­dent George H.W. Bush. He said Rockefeller was a “won­der­ful friend” to him and his wife, Bar­bara.

Rockefeller and his wife, the for­mer Mar­garet McGrath, were mar­ried in 1940 and had six chil­dren — David Jr., Richard, Abby, Neva, Mar­garet and Eileen. His wife, an ac­tive con­ser­va­tion­ist, died in 1996.

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