Last grandson, Rockefeller dies
David Rockefeller, the banker and philanthropist with the fabled family name who controlled Chase Manhattan bank for more than a decade and wielded vast influence around the world even longer as he spread the gospel of American capitalism, died Monday morning at his home in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. He was 101.
A family spokesman,
Fraser Seitel, confirmed the death.
Chase Manhattan had long been known as the Rockefeller bank, though the family never owned more than 5 percent of its shares. But David Rockefeller was more than a steward. As chairman and chief executive throughout the 1970s, he made it “David’s bank,” as many called it, expanding its operations internationally. He was received in foreign capitals with the honors accorded a chief of state.
He was the last surviving grandson of John D. Rockefeller, the tycoon who founded the Standard Oil Co. in the 19th century and built a fortune that made him America’s first billionaire and his family one of the richest and most powerful in the nation’s history.
As an heir to that legacy, David Rockefeller lived all his life in baronial splendor and privilege, whether in Manhattan (as a boy he and his brothers would roller-skate along Fifth Avenue trailed by a limousine in case they grew tired) or at his magnificent country estates.
His brother Winthrop, born in 1912, was governor of Arkansas and died in 1973. The other children were Abby, who was born in 1903 and died in 1976 after leading a private life; John D. Rockefeller III, who was born in 1906 and immersed himself in philanthropy until his death in an automobile accident in 1978; Nelson A., the former vice president and four-time governor of New York who was born in 1908 and died in 1979; and Laurance, born in 1910, who was an environmentalist and died in 2004.
The youngest of six siblings, David Rockefeller was born in Manhattan on June 12, 1915. His father, John D. Rockefeller Jr., the only son of the oil titan, devoted his life to philanthropy. His mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, was the daughter of Nelson Aldrich, a wealthy senator from Rhode Island.
In 1940, he married Margaret McGrath, known as Peggy. His wife, a conservationist, died at 80 in 1996. They had six children: David Jr., Abby, Neva, Margaret, Richard and Eileen.