Mary French Rockefeller

black and white image Mary Rockefeller over 60 years old
Mary Rockefeller

Quick Facts
Date of Birth:
May 1, 1910
Place of Death:
New York, NY
Date of Death:
April 17, 1997
Place of Burial:
Sleepy Hollow, Mount Pleasant, NY
Cemetery Name:
Rockefeller Family Cemetary

Mary Billings French was born on May 1, 1910 to John French and Mary Montagu Billings French, daughter of Frederick Billings. In 1954, she assumed ownership of the Billings estate in Woodstock, Vermont, including the family mansion and 80 acres of surrounding grounds. 

Mary was a leading figured in the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), taking after her mother, who was also involved in the organization. In 1951 she joined the YWCA National Board, then was vice-chairman and then chairman of the YWCA's international division from 1955 to 1973. From 1958 to 1964, she was chairman of the YWCA's World Service Council, followed by being elected to the YWCA Board of Trustees in 1988. Mary was described as gracious, elegant, and gentle. She was a devout Protestant.

Mary and Laurance Rockefeller were married in 1934, and together had four children. Laurance described their marriage as a “partnership,” one of “parallel careers,” and many of their interests and commitments mirrored the other’s. Both were heavily involved in one another's business and philanthropic endeavors, especially those involving the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and causes relating to natural and historic resources.

Mary and Laurance were actively involved in the preservation of Mary's family estate and the surrounding community. In 1969, the Rockefellers purchased and revitalized the Wodstock Inn. In 1983, they helped to established the Billings Farm & Museum. and in 1992, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. The couple planned to continue to live in the historic mansion on the property until 1998, when the National Park was slated to open for public visitation. Mary Rockefeller died on April 17, 1997.

Marsh - Billings - Rockefeller National Historical Park

Last updated: November 27, 2023