David Rockefeller Sr. at the helm of his Hinckley picnic boat Sea Smoke in waters off Mount Desert Island. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARTHA STEWART

Tributes to David Rockefeller Sr. pour in from near and far

A selection from the hundreds of tributes paid to David Rockefeller Sr. on his passing on Monday at age 101.

“Barbara and I were deeply saddened to hear that our wonderful friend, David Rockefeller, has passed from this good earth. So many knew him as one of the most generous philanthropists – and brightest Point of Light – whose caring and commitment to the widest range of worthy causes touched and lifted innumerable lives. David was also very active in national in international affairs. And his connections and keen aptitude for issues made him a valuable advisor to presidents of both parties – yours truly certainly included.

“He was an avid and able collector of art, but most of all, David had a gift for making and keeping friends. On that note, Barbara and I will surely miss our annual visits with him in Maine. We send our most sincere and heartfelt condolences to his children and extended family.” – President George and Barbara Bush


“All of us at Maine Coast Heritage Trust (MCHT) mourn the loss of David Rockefeller Sr. and extend heartfelt condolences to his family. Among his many global interests and pursuits, the coast of Maine held a special place in David’s heart. His wife, Peggy, was a founder of MCHT in 1970, and the two of them left a lasting legacy of conservation in Maine.

“David Rockefeller extended a family legacy of conservation that is without parallel in the world. Maine is fortunate to have had such a friend, dedicated to ensuring that the state’s rich natural heritage is available to all and secure for all generations to come. We at Maine Coast Heritage Trust are grateful for the opportunity to have been one of the many channels through which Mr. Rockefeller pursued his and Peggy’s vision of a better world with such stunning generosity.” – Tim Glidden, President, Maine Coast Heritage Trust


“When I bought my home in Seal Harbor, the first person to formally welcome me was David Rockefeller.

“He drove himself to my Edsel Ford house, a house with which he was very familiar, and personally introduced me to a bit of the history of the neighborhood. For the next 19 years, David Rockefeller was a ‘regular’ friend, sharing his skills of boat captain, on Sea Smoke, driving us generously through the park in his horse-drawn carriage, playing croquet on his seaside lawn and all the while educating us about a life well lived, his life, setting for me and my family a standard of excellence not only in daily existence – never give up – but in philanthropy and conservation efforts.

“I will always consider him my first and best Maine friend.” – Martha Stewart


“He loved this place dearly and was always willing to help us in our work to preserve and protect Acadia. Not only was he generous with his own support, but he was unfailing in his ability to encourage others to join him in doing the same.

“He was writing notes and hosting meetings and attending events right through his very last summer here during Acadia’s centennial year.” – David Macdonald, President, Friends of Acadia


“All of us here at College of the Atlantic mourn the loss of Mr. David Rockefeller. He was a brilliant, kind man and a remarkable human being. Our hearts go out to the entire Rockefeller Family.

“Mr. Rockefeller was a friend to COA from the very beginning. His support of the college in its earliest days was extremely valuable, giving us some sense of financial stability and an immediate boost of credibility with others.

“He and his entire family have been thoughtful, innovative stewards of Mount Desert Island and of conservation efforts across the world … .

“In 2010, Mr. Rockefeller donated the Cameron and DeLaittre farms in Bar Harbor to COA; we renamed them the Peggy Rockefeller Farms in honor of the family. These 100 acres, where we now raise sheep, cows and chickens, as well as vegetable crops, helped us integrate sustainable food systems into COA’s curriculum and will forever be a platform for practicing human ecology … .

“He will be sorely missed by many people, and his impact on this world will be felt for generations.” – Darron Collins, President, College of the Atlantic


“David Rockefeller Sr. demonstrated extraordinary generosity to Acadia National Park throughout his life, continuing the tradition of the Rockefeller family. The Rockefellers were instrumental in the creation of Acadia, and their many contributions, including the network of carriage roads across the island, helped to make this gem of a national park accessible to generations of visitors.

“Mr. Rockefeller’s decision to celebrate his 100th birthday with a magnificent gift of 1,000 acres of land adjacent to Acadia National Park reinforced that legacy. At Acadia’s 100th anniversary last summer, we all were thrilled when Mr. Rockefeller made an unexpected appearance at the celebration of the park that he loved so much.

“His passing is a loss to his family, his friends and to all who had the pleasure of knowing him.” – U.S. Sen. Susan Collins


“David Rockefeller was a giant of a man whose contributions to Maine and the nation will be enjoyed and admired by generations of Americans to come.

“I am grateful for all that he done on behalf of our state, and every time I visit Acadia National Park, I will think of him with fondness in my heart.” – U.S. Sen. Angus King


“All who love and enjoy Acadia National Park have suffered an immense loss on the death of David Rockefeller Sr.

“I first met David on Mount Desert Island on Labor Day 20 years ago. The president had signed into law legislation I sponsored to establish a permanent boundary and make other improvements at Acadia National Park. ‎I was vacationing there over the holiday weekend; David telephoned me, introduced himself, and asked if I would meet with him and others the next day. Early the next morning, I went to the superintendent’s office where David, Rick Bourke and a few park officials were gathered.

“David thanked me for the boundary legislation, then told me how much the park, and especially the carriage paths, had meant to his father and how much they meant to him. The paths had fallen into disrepair.

“He proposed that if I could persuade the Interior Department to allocate funds for the restoration, he, Rick and others would create an endowment‎ to maintain them forever. I said I would try‎ and was able to get the funding for the restoration; David and Rick kept their word on the endowment. They turned the funds over to Friends of Acadia … and they have since kept the paths in good shape, to the delight of the millions of people.

“I soon learned it was only a small part of an extraordinary life of philanthropy and generosity. David loved Maine as much as any of us who were lucky enough to be born there.

“He was a very intelligent, thoughtful, humble and courteous person. He was plainly conscious of what he regarded as his responsibility, and he met it head-on in a full life of accomplishment.

“Wherever David Rockefeller went, his love for Mount Desert Island went with him. The American people have lost a great leader, not in words, for he was not an orator, but in good deeds that will long outlive him. The people of Maine have lost a great citizen. And I have lost a man I was proud to call my friend.

“Anyone who walks the carriage paths this year and beyond should offer a silent prayer of thanks to David Rockefeller, the man who kept them as his father had created them: places of silent beauty for all to enjoy.” – Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell


“The staff at Acadia National Park is saddened by the loss of David Rockefeller. Mr. Rockefeller leaves an enormous legacy of generosity for Acadia and America’s national parks. His recent donation of land abutting Acadia at Little Long Pond to the Land and Garden Preserve of Mount Desert Island will help protect the park and offer greater opportunities for residents and visitors alike to enjoy the beauty of the island he so loved.

“We were honored to have Mr. Rockefeller celebrate Acadia’s Centennial last summer at the Jordan Pond House, representing the Rockefeller family’s incomparable contributions to the creation and development of Acadia National Park. We extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends.” – Kevin Schneider, Superintendent, Acadia National Park


“David Rockefeller was a consummate businessman, a great humanitarian and a serious scholar. He was a kind, good man to all who met him. Hillary and I are grateful for his friendship and his remarkable life.

“Throughout his life, he used his fame and fortune to do good here and abroad. His many efforts included the establishment of the Council of the Americas five decades ago, which was instrumental in my administration’s efforts to alleviate the financial crisis in Latin America and boost trade in the Americas and the Caribbean. His tremendous support of arts and humanities in America gave millions of people in communities across the country the opportunity to experience our great heritage of painting, dance, music and so much more.

“For these efforts and many others, I was proud to present him with our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“We celebrate a long life well-lived and send our gratitude and prayers to his family and all who supported him on his remarkable journey.” – President Bill Clinton, Secretary Hillary Clinton


“Today the world has lost a great man and philanthropist, and we, a dear friend and inspiration … .

“Whether serving at the helm of institutions such as the Chase Manhattan Bank and the Council on Foreign Relations, or helping to found others, such as the Trilateral Commission and the Council of the Americas, David was one of the world’s foremost advocates for the power of partnership and collaboration. Long before it became popular wisdom, he believed effective partnerships across sectors and geographies were the only way to effect lasting change. 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.

“His absence will be felt profoundly by us all, and our hearts are with former Rockefeller Foundation trustees Peggy Dulany and David Jr. and the rest of the Rockefeller family at this time. David’s values of service, humility and integrity will continue to inspire us.” – Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation

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