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Rockefeller, Blanchette Hooker (1909–1992)

Rockefeller, Blanchette Hooker (1909–1992)

American philanthropist. Born Blanchette Ferry Hooker on October 2, 1909, in New York City; died at age 83 in Briarcliff Manor, New York, on December 2, 1992; daughter of Elon Huntington Hooker and Blanche (Ferry) Hooker; married John D. Rockefeller III (1906–1978), on November 11, 1932; children: Sandra Ferry Rockefeller (b. 1935); John (Jay) Davison Rockefeller IV (b. 1937); Hope Aldrich Rockefeller (b. 1938); Alida Davison Rockefeller (b. 1949).

Blanchette Rockefeller was born in 1909 as the heir to the fortune generated by her father, Elon Huntington Hooker, through his Hooker Chemical Company. Described as "lively" and "outgoing," she never relinquished the socially prominent role she received first as a member of the Hooker family and later as the wife of millionaire heir John D. Rockefeller III. Blanchette participated in her husband's business career while raising their four children; her only son, Jay Rockefeller, later became the governor and Democratic senator of West Virginia. She increased her influence on New York's cultural scene when she became president of the Museum of Modern Art, which had been founded by her mother-in-law Abby Aldrich Rockefeller . Renowned for her varied roles in philanthropy, art, and politics, Rockefeller died at her home in New York from Alzheimer's disease complicated by pneumonia on December 2, 1992.

sources:

"Blanchette Rockefeller: Art museum president, mother of U.S. senator," in The Day [New London, CT]. December 2, 1992.

"Milestones," in Time. December 14, 1992.

suggested reading:

Stasz, Clarice. The Rockefeller Women: Dynasty of Piety, Privacy, and Service. St. Martin's, 1995.

Stephen Tschirhart , freelance writer, Birmingham, Michigan

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