Bank executive, philanthropist and oil fortune heir David Rockefeller died Monday morning. He was 101.
Rockefeller, the grandson of Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller Sr. and a former chairman and CEO of The Chase Manhattan Bank, died in his sleep of congestive heart failure, a family spokesman, Fraser Seitel, said.
"Today the world has lost a great man and philanthropist, and we, a dear friend and inspiration." Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah said in a statement. "All of us who work to make change by bringing together leaders from the worlds of business, government, philanthropy and beyond owe David an enormous debt of gratitude — we’re all walking across bridges that he helped build."
Born June 12, 1915, as the sixth child of John D. Rockefeller Jr. and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, David Rockefeller graduated from Harvard in 1936 and earned a doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago in 1940.
He enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1942 and served in World War II in various places, including North Africa and southwestern France, rising to the rank of captain.
Rockefeller joined The Chase National Bank in 1946, became a vice president in 1949 and senior vice president in 1952. After the company merged with the Bank of the Manhattan Co. in 1955, he became executive vice president and vice chairman.
He was named president and co-CEO on Jan. 1, 1961, eventually becoming sole CEO and chairman from 1969 through 1980. He relinquished the chairmanship in 1981, when he retired.
The bank later became JPMorgan Chase, one of the world's largest financial institutions.
“David Rockefeller led an extraordinary life — making an indelible, positive mark on our world as a leader in philanthropy, the arts, business and global affairs," JPMorgan Chase CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon said in a statement. "Our own company, JPMorgan Chase, was built through the hard work, integrity and first-class practices of David and others who came before us. We will miss him sorely, and we share our condolences with his family and friends."
Rockefeller is credited with giving away some $2 billion to various causes, including biomedical research, the arts and New York City's urban revitalization efforts. He signed the Giving Pledge, pledging to donate at least half of his fortune during his life or in his will.
The Rockefeller family was also a major contributor in creating the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, giving $5 million to purchase land for the park. The family also contributed to the founding of Acadia National Park in Maine.
David Rockefeller was a longtime member of the Council on Foreign Relations, serving as chairman from 1970 to 1985.
He married Margaret McGrath in 1940 and she died in 1996. He had six children: the late Richard, David Jr., Abby, Neva, Peggy and Eileen; 10 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.
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