Guardian of the Rockefeller Fortune Dies at 101

David Rockefeller was the last of his generation in a famous and influential American family, has died at the age of 101.

Rockefeller, who reportedly gave away nearly $2 billion in his lifetime, passed away in his sleep at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York.

He was the son of John D. Rockefeller Jr., who developed New York's Rockefeller Center and was the last living grandson of oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil and the family dynasty.

David was the head of Chase Bank from 1969 to 1981 where he forged a network of close relationships with governments and corporations. Chase Manhattan grew from $4.8 billion in 1946 when he joined the bank, to $76.2 billion when he stepped down in April 1981.

Born in Manhattan, he was the youngest of 6 children, and spent his childhood at the family's estates in New York City. He recalled meeting prominent individuals including Charles Lindbergh, Admiral Richard Byrd and Signund Freud.


The 9-story mansion where he was born is now part of the Museum of Modern Art, which his mother Abby helped found in 1929.

At an early age the Rockefeller children were taught about charitable giving, being encouraged to set aside portions of their allowances for donation.

David earned a degree from Harvard University in 1936, did graduate work at the London School of Economics where he met future President John F. Kennedy and dated his sister Kathleen. He was also awarded a PH. D in economics from the University of Chicago in 1940.

"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 dollar-a-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."

In 2002, he published his autobiography "Memoirs" and continued going to work every day in his 90's.

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In 2015, Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at $3 billion.

In May 2015, he made a rare public appearance in Maine where he donated 1,000 acres of land for preservation on exclusive Mount Desert Island to commemorate his 100th birthday.

Portland Press

David's wife Peggy passed away in 1996, and they leave behind 6 children and 10 grandchildren.

Source: Reuters UK