David Rockefeller Sr., right, and daughter Neva Rockefeller Goodwin enjoy a light moment during a ceremony marking his transfer of 1,000 acres of land around Little Long Pond in Seal Harbor to the Land and Garden Preserve of Mount Desert Island in 2015. ISLANDER PHOTO BY EARL BRECHLIN

Rockefeller cherished time spent on MDI



When David Rockefeller Sr. was three months old, his parents brought him to Mount Desert Island for the first time.

“I can’t say that I remember when I came then,” he said with a soft chuckle in an interview with the Islander in May 2015, a few weeks before his 100th birthday.

“But I remember many times since, and a great many of the happy events of my life have taken place here. It’s a very significant part of my life.”

He recalled that, as a boy, he went on nature walks led by Helen Neal, whose husband was director of the MDI Biological Laboratory.

“We would walk around ponds and in the fields, and she would point out things of interest,” Rockefeller said. “I think Henry Ford Jr. did not take great interest in it. But I did and followed up on it and even went so far as making a nature study path at the Jordan Pond. So, it was an important if small episode in my life.”

In 2015, Rockefeller announced that he was giving about 1,000 acres adjacent to Acadia National Park, including Little Long Pond, to the nonprofit Land and Garden Preserve of Mount Desert Island.

Asked why he wasn’t keeping it in the family, he said, “It is important to me personally, but so is the community here. And I like to feel that I have made a contribution that will be of lasting interest and importance to a broader part of the community.”

At the end of the interview, Rockefeller said of his life, “I am grateful for it. I am more fortunate than most people, starting with a wonderful family.”

Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. dbroom@mdislander.com
Dick Broom

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