Richard Rockefeller Dies In Single-Engine Plane Crash In Purchase

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Richard Rockefeller of Maine, a son of Westchester's David Rockefeller, was killed when his single-engine plane crashed in Purchase on Friday.
Richard Rockefeller of Maine, a son of Westchester's David Rockefeller, was killed when his single-engine plane crashed in Purchase on Friday. Photo Credit: Rockefeller Brothers Fund
A Piper Meridian single-engine plane like the one being piloted by Richard Rockefeller when it crashed Friday, June 13 in Purchase.
A Piper Meridian single-engine plane like the one being piloted by Richard Rockefeller when it crashed Friday, June 13 in Purchase. Photo Credit: Luxuryaircraft.com

PURCHASE, N.Y. – Richard Rockefeller, a member of one of the world's most well-known and wealthy families, was killed when his single-engine plane crashed near Westchester County Airport in Purchase on Friday morning.

The 64-year-old Rockefeller's death was confirmed to the Portland Press Herald in Maine by family friend Fraser Seitel. 

Seitel told the Portland (Maine) Herald Press that Rockefeller traveled to Westchester on Thursday for a family gathering.

“He had dinner last night with his father, David Rockefeller, who was celebrating his 99th birthday,” Seitel said. "The family is in shock. This was a terrible tragedy. Richard was a wonderful cherished son and brother, father, husband and grandfather.He was an experienced pilot and a respected medical doctor, who most recently was working on treating PTSD in veterans. And it’s just horribly sad.”

According the airport's air operations office, Rockefeller's Piper Meridian turbo prop plane crashed at 8:08 a.m. just after taking off for a scheduled one hour and 14 minute flight to Portland, Maine. The plane fell on to Cottage Avenue in Purchase minutes later.

Rockefeller, the fifth of six children of David Rockefeller of Pocantico Hills. David Rockefeller, 99, is the only surviving son of world-renowned financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and grandson of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. the founder of Standard Oil.

Richard Gilder Rockefeller was a physician and philanthropist; chairman of the United States advisory board of the international aid group.

Rockefeller practiced and taught medicine in Portland, Maine from 1982 until 2000, and has remained involved in a variety of health-related nonprofit activities since then.  

Rockefeller chaired the board of Maine Coast Heritage trust from 2000 until 2006 and is past president of Rockefeller Family Fund. He has two grown children and lives in Falmouth, Maine.

He founded and served as president of Health Commons Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving American medicine through the use of computer-based information tools and informed shared decision making between patients and physicians.  He chaired the U.S. Advisory Board of Doctors Without Borders from 1989 until 2010, and served on the board of Rockefeller University until 2006.

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Very sad story, I'm just glad it wasn't even worse.

In the 1970s I worked for a car service at Westchester County Airport and we occasionally took some of the Rockefellers home from a private flight to the family estate in Pocantico Hills. They were always very pleasant people to deal with, courteous and friendly. Once when one of the Rockefeller brothers -- possibly David -- didn't have enough cash to pay the fare he invited me inside his home to wait while he looked for money. (Ironic, huh?) His wife offered me fruit while I waited. Very nice people.

My condolences to the family.

Thanks njfreina...that as been corrected

To clarify, the family friend that confirmed this sad event was Fraser Seitel .. not Fred Seital.