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Billionaire Philanthropist David Rockefeller Dies at Age 101

Maine Public/file
Philanthropist David Rockefeller and his daughter, Neva Goodwin, celebrate Rockfeller's gift of 1,000 acres of land abutting Acadia National Park at an event in May 2015.

David Rockefeller — banker, philanthropist and summer resident of Seal Harbor on Mount Desert Island — died Monday, just a few months shy of his 102nd birthday.

To mark his 100th birthday in 2015, Rockefeller donated 1,000 acres of land adjacent to Acadia. At the time, Rockefeller said he was compelled by his personal connection to Mount Desert.

“I realized that Seal Harbor, maybe more than any other location that I can think of in the world, has been important to me since I first came here when I was three months old, in my parent’s hands,” he said.

That gift continued the legacy of his father, John D. Rockefeller, who financed and donated about 50 miles of carriage roads that weave around the Acadia National Park.

It was during David Rockefeller’s time in Maine that he developed an interest in the natural world, specifically beetles, as he told Charlie Rose in a 2002 interview. Rockefeller eventually collected more than 100,000 specimens.

“Collecting beetles? Well, I spent a summer studying nature study — actually Henry Ford’s second was in the same little group, up in Maine,” he said.

But Rockefeller is best known for his roles as chief executive of Chase Manhattan Bank and as a philanthropist, which he discussed with Rose.

“There are many things I could have done better and might have done differently. But I think that on the whole, I’ve been able to use what was given to me in terms of very substantial wealth in a way that I think has been beneficial to society,” he said.

Rockefeller died of congestive heart failure Monday at his home in New York. He was 101 years old.