David Rockefeller, Grandson of Standard Oil Co-Founder, Dies at 101

David Rockefeller, one of capitalism's greatest champions and a billionaire philanthropist, died in his home Monday in Pocantico Hills, New York, a spokesman confirmed.

He was the last surviving grandson of John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, and his death ends a chapter in the storied Rockefeller dynasty; he and his brothers - David, Laurance, John, Nelson and Winthrop - were heavily involved in politics, government, business, philanthropy and the arts in ways unequaled by other us families.

From 1940 to 1941 he was secretary to New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and in 1942 he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in military intelligence in North Africa and France. He was infamously not a fan of President Jimmy Carter, whom Rockefeller said didn't do "what most other countries do themselves, and expect us to do - namely, to make USA national interests our prime worldwide objective". As Rockefeller told his son after one of David's holiday visits, "He is a worthy son of worthy parents, and his grandfather dotes on him".

At the time of his death, Rockefeller was worth an estimated $3.3 billion, making him the planet's 604th richest person, according to FORBES' real-time billionaire rankings.

During his time as head of Chase from 1969 to 1981, Rockefeller forged such a network of close relationships with governments and multinational corporations that observers said the bank had its own foreign policy.

Inside Philanthropy has the extensive list of the many organizations which will benefit from Rockefeller's fortune.

Rockefeller was named president of Chase Manhattan in 1961.

David Rockefeller has died aged 101. In a 2003 interview, he suggested he knew more world leaders than anyone, with the possible exception of Henry Kissinger. His father, John D. Rockefeller Jr, developed New York City's Rockefeller Center.

Under Rockefeller, Chase - now known as JPMorgan Chase - was the first USA 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. His philanthropy was monumental, and so was his art collection, a museum-like repository of some 15,000 pieces, many of them masterpieces, some lining the walls of his offices 56 floors above the streets at Rockefeller Center, to which he repaired, robust and active, well into his 90s.

Unlike his brothers Nelson, the governor of NY 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. He was the grandchild of America's first billionaire, Standard Oil founder, John D. Rockefeller Sr.

For his 100th birthday, Rockefeller donated 1,000 acres of land near Acadia National Park to a public preservation charity.

He married his wife, Margaret, in 1940, who died in 1996.

  • Leroy Wright