John D. MacArthur

John D. MacArthur (March 6, 1897 – January 6, 1978) was an American businessman and philanthropist who established the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, benefactor in the MacArthur Fellowships.

Early life

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 Baptist preacher and his resourceful wife. MacArthur's brother Charles MacArthur was an American playwright and screenwriter, best known as co-author of the play "The Front Page". MacArthur's sister-in-law was the esteemed actress Helen Hayes.

Career in Illinois

MacArthur made his fortune in the insurance business; in 1935, he acquired the Bankers Life and Casualty Company 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 Harvey to be the radio spokesperson for 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 Kelsey and 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 management of his companies and for whom his charitable foundation is co-named.

John R. MacArthur, the publisher of "Harper's Magazine" and son of J. Roderick MacArthur, is a grandson of John D. MacArthur.

Banker's Life after his death

To avoid conflict of interest rules, the company was sold after MacArthur's death by the foundation he created. Bankers Life is today a leader in long term care insurance in the U.S. The company is today publicly held with a capitalization of approximately $6 billion. It is one of the Conseco Insurance Companies (NYSE: "CNO").

ee also

*John D. MacArthur Beach State Park

References

Resources

*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.

External links

* [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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