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Rockefeller, Mary Todhunter (1907–1999)

Rockefeller, Mary Todhunter (1907–1999)

American socialite. Born Mary Todhunter Clark in 1907; died on April 21, 1999, in New York City; married Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller (1908–1979, governor of New York and vice-president of U.S.), on June 23, 1930 (divorced 1962); children: Rodman Clark Rockefeller (b. 1932); Ann Clark (b. 1934); Steven Clark Rockefeller (b. 1936); (twins) Michael Clark Rockefeller (1938–1961) and Mary Clark Rockefeller (b. 1938). Nelson Rockefeller married Margaretta "Happy" Rockefeller in 1963.

A longtime advocate of nurses' education, Mary Todhunter Rockefeller served as first lady of New York State during the first gubernatorial term of her husband Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller. They were married for over 30 years, before divorcing in 1962 as a consequence of his affair with Margaretta "Happy" Rockefeller , whom he married the next year. Shortly after Mary and Nelson separated in 1961, their youngest son Michael disappeared while traveling in Papua New Guinea; despite extensive land and sea searches with assistance from the Australian and Dutch militaries, he was never found. (There has been much speculation that he was killed by local headhunters.) Mary Rockefeller served on the National Advisory Health Council and the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services during the 1950s, and on the board of the National League of Nursing for many years. She was honored for "27 years of outstanding achievement on behalf of the nursing profession and the health care of the American people" by the New York County of Registered Nurses in 1959, received a distinguished service award from the National League of Nursing in 1971, and was granted an honorary degree from Hunter College in recognition of her volunteer efforts in 1980.


The Boston Globe (obituary). April 23, 1999, p. B11.

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