Today we lunched at Boondocks Restaurant on the Halifax River, Wilbur-by-the-Sea. It is conveniently located exactly one mile from our apartment. Being at this casual Florida waterfront restaurant eating spicy eat-‘n-peel shrimp, conch chowder and blackened Mahi-mahi consummated our initiation to the area. We sat outside at a picnic table overlooking the marina. One couldn’t imagine frequenting this place in anything but leisure clothing. Eating there is messy business!
The restaurant is dog-friendly where “pets drink free all day” (there are water bowls provided). The entire structure is made of wooden planks which have long ago turned grey from the weather. Surrounding the restaurant is a sandy parking lot, seagulls and yachts. The staff is exceptionally friendly and attentive, lending the illusion of family relationship. Of most importance, the food is homemade and exceptionally tasty! And in keeping with American tradition, the proportions are generous.
It is almost one month since we arrived on Daytona Beach Shores. During that time we haven’t wandered too far afield and then only to buy home provisions and groceries. Though I have bicycled parallel to the Ocean shore to Ponce Inlet I have only once deviated from that routine course to approach the Halifax River but almost immediately returned to Atlantic Avenue. Such is the nature of cautious exploration when submerging oneself in a new environment. Our advancement from the home base has been by degrees. Even today our introduction to Boondocks was more of necessity than by design because we originally intended to lunch at Crabby Joe’s on the Sunglow Pier located adjacent the apartment building; however, the place was packed so we went looking elsewhere.
After lunch – fortified in body and in spirit – I rose to the occasion by deciding to go to the car wash for a second time. There is some cogency to the theory that one should wash one’s car regularly when residing next to salt sea air. Although our apartment building has the facility in the underground garage for spraying water on one’s vehicle, it is a far shot from a proper detail. The car wash we had discovered within the last ten days is in Ormand Beach just north of Daytona. Ormand Beach is considered a polite residential suburb, partly famous for having been the winter home of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
May 24, 1937
John D. Rockefeller Dies at 97 in His Florida Home; Funeral to be Held Here
By PAUL CROWELL
rmond Beach, Fla., May 23.–John D. Rockefeller Sr., who wanted to live until July 9, 1939, when he would have rounded out a century of life, died at 4:05 A.M. here today at The Casements, his Winter home, a little more than two years and a month from his cherished goal.
Death came suddenly to the founder of the great Standard Oil organization–so suddenly that none of his immediate family was with him at the end. Less than twenty-four hours before the aged philanthropist died in his sleep from sclerotic myocarditis, his son, John D. Rockefeller Jr., had been assured that there was nothing about his father’s condition to cause concern.
Known as Philanthropist
Once called the world’s richest man, Mr. Rockefeller had given more than $530,000,000 to various educational, scientific and religious institutions, thus winning for himself the right to be called the world’s greatest philanthropist.
Long since retired from active participation in business, he had given most of his great fortune to his heirs before he died, and close associates expressed doubt today that his estate, which they said was relatively small and very liquid, would amount to as much as $25,000,000.
Soon after word of Mr. Rockefeller’s death reached New York a special car was sent to Florida to bring back his body and plans were made for a simple private funeral on Wednesday from his official residence at Pocantico Hills, where he had planned to celebrate his ninety-eighth birthday next July.
Burial to Be in Cleveland
Burial will be Thursday in Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland, where Mr. Rockefeller got his business start as a $12-a-month clerk. In accordance with his wishes he will be buried beside his wife, Laura Spelman Rockefeller, who died more than twenty years before him.
The funeral services probably will be conducted by the Rev. Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, pastor of the Riverside Church, which the oil man endowed. Only members of the family and intimate friends will be permitted to attend.
As the news of the passing of the great industrialist, who will be remembered both as a philanthropist and as America’s first billionaire, spread across the country and to Europe, leaders in educational, religious and charitable organizations paid tribute to his memory.
Mr. Rockefeller had lived in and been a part of the industrialization of a continent. In his lifetime he saw automobiles replace horses and carriages, airplanes challenge automobiles and railroad trains as common carriers.
He saw great steel combines grow as his oil empire grew. He was a man when the Civil War was fought and it was not until late in his lifetime that the last frontier was reached.
Behind the closed gates at Pocantico Hills, where John D. Rockefeller Jr. and his family were alone with their grief, and here at The Casements, where faithful employees and servants prepared for the sad journey north, there was mourning. Flags on the estate and on public buildings here flew at half staff.
Dr. H. L. Merryday of Daytona Beach, personal physician to Mr. Rockefeller, said that Mr. Rockefeller, as recently as last Wednesday, had appeared to be in good health. On Thursday and Friday he suffered sinking spells, but apparently rallied. On Saturday his condition had improved. About midnight Saturday, Mr. Rockefeller sank into a coma, which continued until his death, four hours later.
Before he lapsed into the coma he whispered to his nurses, “Raise me a little higher.” Once during the coma he muttered a few words in tones so low that none at the bedside was able to understand them.
With him when he died were Dr. Merryday, Mrs. Fannie A. Evans, a cousin, John F. Yordi, a nurse and companion who had attended him for many years, and Roy C. Siy, another nurse.
Mr. Rockefeller came to The Casements in October, following an annual custom of many years’ standing.
The undertakers, the Baggett, Whetherby & McIntosh Company of Daytona Beach, declined to name the time of departure tomorrow. A study of schedules of the Florida East Coast Railway indicated that it would be late in the afternoon with arrival in New York scheduled for Tuesday.
Mr. Rockefeller’s death came as a shock to the residents of Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach, to whom his spare figure was a familiar sight. Since his arrival here in October he was accustomed to take daily automobile rides along the beach back of his estate, or along the tree-shaded highways of Daytona Beach.
For the last few years Mr. Rockefeller’s failing strength has forced him to abandon his golf games on the Ormond Beach links.
As recently as Wednesday he took his usual automobile ride, and even on Friday and Saturday, after rallying from sinking spells, he sat in his wheelchair in the gardens of his estate.
Early this morning, when news of Mr. Rockefeller’s death spread through Ormond Beach and Daytona Beach hundreds of automobiles made the trip across the Halifax River to the massive gates of The Casements. They were turned away by guards.
The river highway, between the estate and the Halifax, was blocked off along the entire estate frontage and cars were directed to adjacent roads.
The twenty-five employees on the estate were a saddened group. They could be seen through the entrance gates on Granada Avenue talking in muffled tones about the passing of “the master.” Within the low-roofed rambling structure where Mr. Rockefeller died, members of the household staff could be seen moving slowly from room to room.
During the last two weeks, according to “old timers” who had watched Mr. Rockefeller’s comings and goings in the years that he made his Winter and Spring home here, there was no indication that his health was declining. On Monday he paid a visit to Dr. Sidney G. Main of Daytona Beach, his dentist. At that time he appeared to be in his usual health.
Only a few were aware of his absence from the beach on Thursday and succeeding days, or of his failure to take his automobile ride to Daytona Beach. As recently as Wednesday, the Rev. James M. Anderson, a Baptist minister in Daytona, called at The Casements and talked with Mr. Rockefeller, noting that his health seemed to be as usual.
At the Union Baptist Church in Ormond where Mr. Rockefeller was a frequent attendant up to three years ago, the bell in the steeple was tolled to mark his passing.
James Davis, the Negro sexton of the church, to whom Mr. Rockefeller had given many a shiny silver dime during the twenty-three years he had been coming to Ormond Beach, pointed out the pew in which the late oil man used to sit.
“He was a fine, gentle soul and a real Christian,” the sexton said. He pointed to the hymnal board near the pulpit. It bore the announcement that the first psalm of the day would be the Twenty-third.
It was his favorite psalm” Mr. Davis said. “Even though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil.”