John D. MacArthur
John D. MacArthur (
March 6, 1897– January 6, 1978) was an American businessman and philanthropistwho established the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, benefactorin the MacArthur Fellowships.
John Donald MacArthur was born in
Pittston, Pennsylvania. [McGoun, William E., Southeast Florida Pioneers: The Palm and Treasure Coasts, 1998, Sarasota: Pineapple Press, p. 167] MacArthur and his many brothers and sisters grew up in poverty, the children of an itinerant Baptistpreacher and his resourceful wife. MacArthur's brother Charles MacArthurwas an American playwrightand screenwriter, best known as co- authorof the play " The Front Page". MacArthur's sister-in-lawwas the esteemed actress Helen Hayes.
Career in Illinois
MacArthur made his fortune in the
insurance business; in 1935, he acquired the Bankers Life and CasualtyCompany for $2,500. In subsequent years, he built up a business empire through acquisitions of many small insurance corporations. In the 1950s, MacArthur signed famed broadcaster Paul Harveyto be the radio spokespersonfor the company (today, the national spokesperson for Bankers Life is actor Dick Van Dyke).
Real estate investments in Florida
MacArthur also grew his vast fortune by heavily, and lucratively, investing in
Florida real estate. In 1954 for $5.5 million MacArthur bought 2,600 acres of land in northern Palm Beach County that had been owned originally by Harry Seymour Kelseyand later by Sir Harry Oakes. The land included most of today's Lake Park, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens and Palm Beach Shores. [McGoun, William E., Southeast Florida Pioneers: The Palm and Treasure Coasts, 1998, Sarasota: Pineapple Press, p. 167] For many years MacArthur conducted many of his business affairs from a table in the Colonades Beach Hotel, Singer Island, Florida. Where he and Catherine his wife both lived in their Penthouse overlooking the Atlantic ocean and Inland water ways.
Marriages and family
MacArthur first married the former Louise Ingals and had two children: a son, U.S. businessman and philanthropist,
J. Roderick MacArthur(1920-1984) and a daughter, Virginia MacArthur. The couple divorced in 1926. In 1928, MacArthur married Catherine T. MacArthur, nee Hyland, who intimately involved herself for decades in managementof his companies and for whom his charitable foundation is co-named. John R. MacArthur, the publisherof " Harper's Magazine" and son of J. Roderick MacArthur, is a grandson of John D. MacArthur.
Banker's Life after his death
conflict of interestrules, the company was sold after MacArthur's death by the foundation he created. Bankers Life is today a leader in long term care insurancein the U.S. The company is today publicly held with a capitalization of approximately $6 billion. It is one of the ConsecoInsurance Companies (NYSE: "CNO").
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park
*cite book |title=The Stockholder |author=Hoffman, William | publisher=Lyle Stuart | year=1969 Biography of John MacArthur.
*cite book |title=The Eccentric Billionaire: John D. MacArthur |author=Kriplen, Nancy | publisher=Amacom Books | year=2008 Biography of John MacArthur: Empire builder, reluctant philanthropist, relentless adversary.
* McGoun, William E., "Southeast Florida Pioneers: The Palm and Treasure Coasts", 1998, Sarasota: Pineapple Press, chapter 27. Compares the lives of MacArthur and
Arthur Vining Davis, another heavy investor in Florida real estate.
* [http://www.macfound.org/about_us/john_cath.htm MacArthur Foundation website]
* [http://www.bankerslife.com/Web/default.aspx Bankers Life website]
* [http://www.bankerslife.com/Web/AboutUs-Timeline.aspx History of Bankers Life]
* [http://www.american.com/archive/2008/february-02-08/the-reluctant-philanthropist Kosar, Kevin R., "The Reluctant Philanthropist: John D. MacArthur," The American, February 13, 2008.]
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