Remembrances

Please send tributes to news@chasealum.org.

To see two collections of alumni recollections of DR, presented to him in honor of his 100th birthday, dues-paying members can click here and click here. For a photo album, click here.

 

From Gene Swanzey: There are no words that come to mind to express my sadness. While each one of us at the Bank worked for David, I had the distinct privilege of working directly for him in the Office of the Chairman--not only on Bank matters, but also on his various activities outside the Bank. My wife and I had quality time with him last November at Joseph Reed's memorial and at a Chase gathering at Pocantico later in the day. We will never forget that conversation. May he rest in deserved peace.

 

From Dick Hay: David was a true Gentleman. He treated everyone with respect. I remember him fondly. As a young Assistant Treasurer, I would cross paths on the elevator at One Chase and he would even remember my name.

 

From Nick Binkley: A gentleman and statesman extraordinaire.  May he rest in peace.

 

From Phil Sorace: I can't say that I knew David or that he knew me but, at those few brief encounters on domestic business trips and local customer lunches. Whether true or not, he made me feel he valued my presence by initiating some conversation relevant to the event. I recall one trip in particular to Detroit that was well represented by officers of all ranks from various departments and divisions in the Bank.  At check-in at the Renaissance Center Hotel, David was asked for a credit card to start the process. He smiled at the Desk Clerk and after a brief self pat-down, said to the effect, "I don't believe I have my wallet." As I remember,  it took less than a second or two before a dozen or more wallets were being snapped open and credit cards were slapped on the marble counter. I don't have memory of what DR's reaction was as I, a junior officer, was shunted to the rear of the crowd where I tried my best not to laugh out loud. Truly, it was scene from a Billy Wilder movie.
     My most lasting memory of "the man", David Rockefeller, was a brief encounter on an elevator at 1CMP. After he retired, he maintained an office at the Bank. Since my office was a floor or two above his, we shared, from time to time, the same elevator in the morning. I was having a room built on our home and experiencing all the typical problems one has with contractors. One morning in the elevator I was complaining to a colleague about having to redo the installation of a wood plank floor because of shoddy workmanship. David entered the elevator on the Plaza level as I whined about enduring the mess. After a brief greeting, I continued with my tale of woe. About three to four weeks later. I encountered David again on the elevator. This time I was alone and he was windswept and bundled up, having crossed the Plaza into the building, We chatted briefly about the cold spell and the Downtown wind shear until he exited on his floor. As the door was closing, he suddenly spun around and said, "How did you make out with the floor?" I was stunned and only could nod an OK, before the doors closed. I couldn't imagine how he could have remembered an overheard conversation several weeks before, or why he would even felt it necessary to ask about it then. My take-away lesson at the time was, it is important to pay attention to small things.

 

From Loretta Rivera: RIP

From Bob Mitchell: A great man, and a truly genuine human being – all the way from the 17th floor to the treadmill in the Fitness Lab.  It was an honor to work for “David’s Bank”.

 

From Rudi Bogni: David Rockefeller created an environment at Chase that made it possible for us, from so many different nations, to grow professionally and as human beings and to take pride in our job and in the bank. I, for one, will remember him with affection and gratitude.

 

From Tony Walton: There were so many moments when he touched our hearts and entered our lives. One of my fondest was an Oil and Gas conference around '75 in Boca Raton. I was attending with Jimmy Adamson, Harold Hammer and Bob Herr. I don't think Jeff Cunningham was there.

     David suddenly jumped up and asked me to walk up the beach with him. We took off shoes and socks, rolled up pants and walked up the beach a long way.

     He pointed to a long line of condos as far as the eye could see. He said, "Tony, they are all empty and they are all ours. What should we do?"  I replied that we could both take individual penthouses as anchor tenants. He thought that was worthy of study. Pity I didn't. Ultimately they filled up.

     David in his gentle and unassuming way instilled the core values that many bankers lack. Those days from '67 to around '82 were the most deeply rewarding of my life thanks to his imbedded culture. Thank you David.

 

From Al Krtil: A wonderful era has ended...may he Rest in Peace...and thanks, for the memories!

 

From Bernard Giraud: Apart from being a world class banker, David Rockefeller was a gentleman in the full sense of the word–an extint breed in David Rockefeller's league of today's bankers.

 

From Hans van den Houten (co-founder and chair emeritus of the Chase Alumni Association):   

March 20, 2017, a day to remember with sadness, but also with ample happy memories of an icon in the banking and philanthropic world. “David”, “DR”, “Mr. Rockefeller” is no longer with us, but how can we forget the glorious days at the Chase Manhattan Bank, aptly named “David’s Bank”, when “DR” was our emissary around the world putting Chase on the “to do” list of expansion and diversification in many countries. Those were the days that we, the trainees in the Credit Department’s Global Credit Training program, bonded with each other. We were being groomed to carry on the mission to expand “his” bank globally. Our bonds became deep and loyalty was felt to our Chairman and his drive towards becoming that significant international bank.

     The Chase Alumni Association, is an exponent of the Chase Manhattan Bank built under DR’s guidance. This bank not only trained us, but cemented enduring friendships and bonds for many, which we find embedded in our Association. Today, we mourn our former Chairman and we remember him as a leader on so many levels, in so many activities. He left us, but his life has been full and, as he stated: “I had a rather interesting life!" For many of us, he made our life interesting at the bank and beyond. After one hundred and one years, he deserves to Rest In Peace.

 

From Ulises Giberga: David will be remembered for the many good things he did in life, and I will always remember him especially for one little-known position he took back in 1960.  Chase Manhattan branches in Cuba had been nationalized by the Castro government in September 1960, with no compensation offered.  There were more than 20 Cuban-born employees, I among them, working in the Cuban branches, who had been recognized as having served exceptionally well, and had expressed no desire to continue living under the Castro dictatorship. While David was not on Chase’s Board of Directors at that time, he was most instrumental in arranging for senior management to approve Chase’s re-hiring those of us who left Cuba in New York and other locations. It was David’s strong hope that things in Cuba would settle down and that Chase would soon be able to re-open its four branches there.  Alas, this was not to happen.  So, thank you, David, on behalf of all of Chase’s Cuban employees, and may you rest in peace.

 

From Robert Schwarzenbach: He understood that people make history, hence his focus on getting to know the people who could make things happen. He could meet people from one year to the next and pick up his conversation with them as if it was yesterday, and this was quite impressive to those persons he wanted to cultivate. He had a clear vision of what he wanted to accomplish, and he understood what he was good at, and more important, what he was not good at nor wanted to do. He once related to me how he was called to the White House by President Carter, who begged him to take the job of Secretary of the Treasury to replace Secretary Miller. He thanked President Carter for the offer, but persuaded the President to offer the job to Paul Volker, and the country benefited greatly from his selfless and good advice. David Rockefeller was truly a man for all seasons.

 

From Gino Verza: David was an affable and courteous gentleman with a keen sense of social responsibility he embraced as a lifetime opportunity to do good–in banking and everywhere. Like my Chase colleagues I am a beneficiary of the inclusive, nurturing, and productive environment David shaped at the Bank, for which I am grateful. It was only natural to be very proud to work for David’s Bank. Today I celebrate David’s life and mourn his passing; may his kind soul rest in peace.

   
 



 

In Memoriam:                              David Rockefeller, 101

 

David Rockefeller, who shaped Chase Manhattan into an international financial behemoth and was an equally towering figure in the worlds of culture and philanthropy, died this morning, March 20, 2017, at his home in Pocantico Hills, NY.  He was 101.

He was chairman of Chase Manhattan’s board from 1969 to 1981 and chief executive officer from 1969 to 1980, leading and mentoring generations of Chase alumni.

 

Mr. Rockefeller accepted honorary lifetime membership in the CAA in September 2003, when he appeared at a special CAA event at which he discussed his recently published Memoirs and signed copies for members. He welcomed Chase alumni to Kykuit, the Rockefeller family home on the Hudson, during the worldwide CAA reunion that took place in the New York area in October 2004.  He also attended the first CAA fall reception at 1CMP, in October 2006, and stayed longer than he planned – making him tardy for dinner with then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

 

Click here to find the Fall 2003 CAA Newsletter with a report on Mr. Rockefeller's evening with the CAA to discuss his Memoirs. 

 

For a biographical sketch, please click here. 

For the obituary in The New York Times, please click here.