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Brooke Astor
Birth: Mar. 30, 1902
Portsmouth
Rockingham County
New Hampshire, USA
Death: Aug. 13, 2007
Briarcliff Manor
Westchester County
New York, USA

Philanthropist. Born Roberta Brooke Russell in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, her father was Major General John Henry Russell Jr., a military officer who eventually became Commandant of the United States Marine Corps. She dropped out of high school in 1919 to marry John Dryden Kuser, (her first serious relationship), when she was 17. The son of the founder of South Jersey Gas and Electric and the grandson of the founder of Prudential Life Insurance Company, he drank heavily, was abusive and adulterous, and announced after a year of marriage that he no longer loved her. A dutiful wife, she did not file for divorce until after he won election to the New Jersey State Senate in 1930. Her second marriage was to stockbroker Charles Marshall, a man of more modest means and kinder temperament. During World War II she worked as a nurse tending to veterans, and when the war ended, unlike most married women of her time, she decided to continue to work rather than give up her job to returning soldiers. She wrote for "House And Garden" magazine, and eventually became an editor there. She was married to Marshall for two decades, until his death. Her third husband was Vincent Astor, who inherited great wealth when his father died aboard the "RMS Titanic" in 1912. A member of the Astor family whose wealth started with John Jacob Astor in the early 19th century, he owned "Newsweek" magazine, the Hotel St. Regis in New York City, New York, and had many millions in real estate, as well as vast holdings in the automobile, shipping, and air transportation industries. Reportedly once told his wife that when he died, she would have "a hell of a good time" giving away his fortune once he died. He died of a heart attack in 1959, and over the next four decades she devoted her time to donating the vast fortune to philanthropic endeavors, such as the Bronx Zoo, the International Rescue Committee, the Fresh Air Fund, Lighthouse for the Blind, the Maternity Center Association, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the New York Public Library. In total, she donated in her time an estimated $195 million. Suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, in 2006 she became the subject of a lawsuit alleging elder abuse by her son, Anthony Dryden Marshall (her child with John Dryden Kuser - he had adopted the surname of his step father, Charles Marshall). Family members claimed that late in her life, Anthony Dryden Marshall forced Brooke Astor to sleep on a urine-drenched couch, kept her beloved dogs locked in a separate room, replaced her name-brand face cream with petroleum jelly, and switched her prescriptions to lower-cost generic drugs. A court appointed fashion designers Oscar de la Renta's wife Annette, a close friend of Brooke Astor, to act as her temporary guardian, and assigned financial giant J P Morgan Chase to oversee her assets. A Morgan Chase audit raised questions about $14 million in cash, property and stocks that Anthony Dryden Marshall received from his mother, who may not have realized what she was signing. Brooke Astor died at the age of 105 in August 2007, and in October 2009 her son was convicted of grand larceny stemming from his abuse of her. (bio by: Andrew A. Caruso) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  John Henry Russell (1872 - 1947)
  Mabel Howard Russell (1878 - 1967)
 
 Spouses:
  Vincent Astor (1891 - 1959)
  John Dryden Kuser (1897 - 1964)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Sleepy Hollow
Westchester County
New York, USA
Plot: Section 88, row 2
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Andrew A. Caruso
Record added: Aug 13, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 20928042
Brooke Astor
Added by: Andrew A. Caruso
 
Brooke Astor
Added by: GraveGirl
 
Brooke Astor
Added by: Anonymous
 
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- Ernest Sharpe Jr
 Added: Aug. 18, 2014

- DENA ANN
 Added: Aug. 13, 2014

- R I P
 Added: Aug. 13, 2014
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