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Winthrop Rockefeller

Gov. Winthrop Rockefeller

  • January 10, 1967 - January 12, 1971
  • Republican
  • May 1, 1912
  • February 22, 1973
  • New York
  • Yale University
  • Married twice: Barbara Sears; Jeannette Edris; One child
  • Army
  • Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, Purple Heart


WINTHROP ROCKEFELLER was born in New York City on May 1, 1912, the son of D. Rockefeller, Jr., and Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. He attended Yale University from 1931 to 1934. In 1941 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the Pacific Theater during World War II, earning the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart. In 1953, Rockefeller moved to Arkansas and developed Winrock Farms, which concentrated on purebred cattle and grew rice and soybean. In 1955 he became the first chairman of the Arkansas Industrial Development Commission. During his nine-year leadership of the commission, Arkansas led all states in attracting new industry. In 1964 he was a delegate to the Republican National Convention. He was elected governor of Arkansas in 1966 and reelected in 1968. Rockefeller was the first Republican governor in Arkansas since the end of Reconstruction in 1874.

As governor, Rockefeller was an advocate for human rights, government reform, cultural development, and education. During his tenure, Governor Rockefeller chaired the Southern Governors’ Conference from 1969 to 1970 and served on the National Governors’ Conference Executive Committee that same year. He died of lung cancer on February 22, 1973. His brother was New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller (1959-1973), who also became the Vice President under President Ford. Rockefeller’s nephew was West Virginia Governor John Davison Rockefeller (1977-1985).


Governors of the American States, Commonwealths and Territories, National Governors' Conference, 1970.

Rockefeller Family Archives

The Political Graveyard

Old State House Museum

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