Laurance Spelman Rockefeller (May 26, 1910 - July 11, 2004) was a financier, philanthropist, and conservationist.
He was the fourth child of John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and brother to Nelson Rockefeller. Rockefeller was born in New York City and graduated from Princeton in 1932. He then attended Harvard Law School for two years until he came to the conclusion that he did not want to be a lawyer.
Laurance married Mary French in 1934. Mary was the sister of Nelson Rockefeller's roommate when Nelson attended Dartmouth University. Mary was granddaughter to Fredrick Billings, a president of Northern Pacific Railway.
Laurance and Mary had three daughters and a son. They are Laura R. Chasin, Marion R. Weber, Dr. Lucy R. Waletzky, and Larry Rockefeller.
In 1937 he inherited his grandfather's seat on the New York Stock Exchange.
He was noted for his involvement in conservation and the protection of wildlife. He funded the expansion of Grand Teton National Park and promoted the creation and expansion of numerous other national parks. He also had an interest in spiritual research, UFOs and crop circles. He funded the research of Harvard Medical School professor Dr. John Mack  (http://www.centerchange.org/center/center_news.asp?id=220), author of Passport to the Cosmos. He also funded a scientific study about crop circles in the late 1990s  (http://www.ufoevidence.org/documents/doc219.htm), in which scientists concluded that we are dealing with an unknown energy source, as their research left them baffled.
Through his company, Rockresorts, Rockefeller opened hotels at Caneel Bay on St. John's, in Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands, and Hawaii. The last of these, the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, was established in 1965 on the Kohala Coast of the island of Hawaii. (http://www.hawaii.gov/dbedt/hecon/he5-00/timeline.html)
In 2001 Laurance donated his 1106 acre (4.5 km²) ranch to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
He was a leading figure in the field of venture capital. He died in his sleep of pulmonary fibrosis on July 11, 2004.
Resources and further reading
- Laurance S. Rockefeller: Catalyst for Conservation by Robin W. Winks (ISBN 1559635479)
- The Rockefeller Archive Center (http://archive.rockefeller.edu/)