Jean E. de Valpine, former chief executive officer of Memorial Drive Trust and MDT Advisers Inc., and an early venture capital investor, died peacefully on April 26, 2020. He was 98.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Jean graduated in 1943 from Harvard College and the Tank Destroyer OCS at Camp Hood, Texas. He served as forward observer and battery commander in the 25th Infantry Division in the Philippines and Japan. Upon returning, he attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 1949. He then practiced law in Boston for ten years, during which time he formed the antitrust committee of the Boston Bar Association.
In 1960, at the request of Royal Little, he undertook the management of Memorial Drive Trust, the profit sharing trust and then sole stockholder of Arthur D. Little Inc. He continued in that role for over three decades until his retirement in 1993. During that era, ADL retirees benefited from the returns of the Trust’s investments in real estate development and early stage technology ventures including cable television, electronics, computer, communications and software companies. Jean served on the boards of many of these companies as they evolved from small startups to mature public enterprises. In 1973, together with a number of other nationally active venture capital investors, he worked on the organization of the National Venture Capital Association, which he then served for many years as a founding director.
In retirement, Jean continued to read widely and explore his life-long passions for mathematics, physics and technology. He always appreciated hearing from former ADL employees and following updates from the 25th Infantry Division Association. Maintaining friendships across generations, he is remembered as kind, inspirational, and intellectually curious. He is survived by his wife, Sylvia, three sons and their spouses, John and Linda, Eric and Cari, and David and Rebecca, and five grandchildren.
At Jean’s request no services are planned. Those wishing to make a donation in his memory are asked to consider the Mount Auburn Hospital in appreciation of its outstanding healthcare providers during the COVID-19 pandemic.