Reportedly, David Rockefeller, who is one of the most known billionaire businessmen and philanthropists, has died Monday morning. He was the last in his generation, as part of one of the country’s most famously philanthropic families. Rockefeller was 101.
According to reports and his spokesman, Fraser P. Seitel, Rockefeller died in his sleep while at his home in Pocantico Hills, New York.
He was the grandson of Standard Oil co-founder John D. Rockefeller and the youngest of six children born to John D. Rockefeller Jr. After the passing of his siblings, he then became the key guardian of his family’s fortune and head of the business. On his 100th birthday in 2015, Rockefeller gave 1,000 acres of land next to a national park to the state of Maine.
David Rockefeller, however, wielded power and influence without ever seeking the public office. Among his many accomplishments was encouraging the project that is known today as the World Trade Center.
Unlike from his other brothers, John D. III and Laurance, who stayed away from the spotlight and focused on philanthropy, David Rockefeller embraced business, and traveled 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. The problem is to see that the system is run as efficiently and as honestly as it can be.”
According to sources, Rockefeller never spoke about how much he paid in taxes, and never spoke publicly about his personal worth. But in 2015, Forbes magazine estimated his fortune to be around $3 billion.
As one of the Rockefeller grandchildren, David actually belonged to the last generation, in which the inherited family billions were spread out in a few hands. The next generation, however, known as “the cousins,” would not have the inheritance.
Rockefeller has met more than 200 rulers in more than over 100 countries during his lifetime, and often was treated and respected as if he was a head of state.
Under Rockefeller, Chase, now known as JPMorgan Chase & Co, was the first U.S. bank to open offices in the Soviet Union and China and, in 1974, the first to open an office in Egypt after the Suez crisis of 1956 took place.
One of the major projects of Rockefeller’s during his later years, was that he directed in restoring the family influence in the landmark Rockefeller Center. It had been sold in the 1980s to Japanese investors, and he eventually organized an investor group to buy back 45 percent of the property.
Rockefeller and his wife, the former Margaret McGrath, were married in 1940 and they had six children: David Jr., Richard, Abby, Neva, Margaret, and Eileen. His wife, an active conservationist, later died in 1996.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to this family at this time.