National Obituary Review

Dead Person of the Day – May 23 – John D. Rockefeller

0 Comments 23 May 2012


America’s first billionaire – John D. Rockefeller. Our DPD today.

Mr. Rockefeller had lived in and been a part of the industrialization of America. In his lifetime he saw automobiles replace horses and airplanes challenge automobiles and the creation of hot dogs and Chuck Taylors. Man, what a life.

He was a ruthless businessman, though. A bit of a douche nozzle. He amassed millions by forcing his competitors out of business through a series of devastating monopolies clever fashion choices. By the time of his death in 1937, Rockefeller’s remaining fortune, largely tied up in permanent family trusts, was estimated at $1.4 billion, while the total national GDP was $92 billion.

As a percentage of the U.S’s GDP not even Bill Gates or Sam Walton even come close to that dominance.

But he did a lot with that money. He played a large part in bankrolling America while we were kicking ass. Particularly in health care and education.

He gave $80 million to University of Chicago in 1900 turning it into a world class institution.

He founded the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in NYC. He gave nearly $250 million to endow Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1915, which was the first of its kind.

But I’m not here to talk about all this. I’m here to talk about this obit from the NYT in 1937. Given the remarkable life of Rockefeller you’d think the obit would read like a who’s who of American history yet strangely this obit seems infatuated with describing how surprised his relatives and close friends were with the ‘sudden’ passing of a 98 year old. I don’t get it.

It’s a bit of a wet effort by Paul Crowell. I include in the  NOR solely for educational purposes. 3 out of 10 lytles at best.

May 24, 1937

John D. Rockefeller Dies at 97 in His Florida Home; Funeral to be Held Here


Ormond Beach, Fla., May 23.–John D. Rockefeller Sr., who wanted to live until July 9, 1939, when he would have rounded out a century of life, died at 4:05 A.M. here today at The Casements, his Winter home, a little more than two years and a month from his cherished goal.

Death came suddenly to the founder of the great Standard Oil organization–so suddenly that none of his immediate family was with him at the end. Less than twenty-four hours before the aged philanthropist died in his sleep from sclerotic myocarditis, his son, John D. Rockefeller Jr., had been assured that there was nothing about his father’s condition to cause concern. Continue

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