Grace Love Blust Wreaks (1929-2021)
Grace (“Gee-Gee”) Love Blust Wreaks passed away peacefully on September 26, 2021 at her home in Arlington, VT. She was surrounded by family and friends. Grace was 92 years old.
Grace’s life was characterized by family, friends and remarkable achievement. She was a trailblazer and an inspiration for women in the legal profession.
Grace Love Blust was born in 1929 and raised in Brooklyn Heights in New York City. Her parents were Mr. John J. Blust & Mrs. Grace Anderson Love Blust. Her maternal grandparents were Dr. & Mrs. Cornelius Ruxton Love, also of Brooklyn Heights. Grace was an only-child and
the oldest of 25 cousins.
Gee-Gee attended Packer Collegiate Institute (now known as Packer) in Brooklyn Heights from kindergarten through her senior year of high school, where she excelled academically. She graduated from Packer in 1947.
In the fall of 1947, she entered Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY. In 1949, after successfully completing her sophomore year at Vassar, Grace was accepted into a special program at New York Law School in New York City. Law school was a highly unusual option for a woman in 1949, as most US law schools did not yet accept women. After only two years in this accelerated program, Grace graduated from New York Law School at age 21. Grace was one of only a few women in her graduating law school class of over 300 men and she was elected Class President in her final year there. Founded in 1891, New York Law School has confirmed that “Grace Wreaks was one of the first 50 women to graduate” in the law school’s 130 year history.
Upon graduation, Grace passed the New York Bar Exam and was admitted to practice law in 1951. She was awarded the Nathaniel Goldstein Attorney General’s Medal for Constitutional Law that year, having earned a 99% grade on the constitutional law section of the New York Bar Exam. Grace was promptly hired by The Hanover Trust Co. in New York City (later Manufacturers Hanover Bank & Trust—now part of JPMorgan Chase). Her professional focus on trust and estate work continued throughout her career.
In 1954 Grace Love Blust married Charles Fitzwilliam Wreaks, III. The couple moved to Bay Head, NJ where Charles (“Charlie”) was a partner in Wreaks & Wreaks Real Estate. Grace successfully launched and led a property and casualty insurance business representing Aetna Insurance. The insurance business worked hand-in-glove with Wreaks & Wreaks Real Estate.
Grace and Charlie had three children; Grace (“Anne”) was born in 1959, Charles (“Bill”) in 1963 and Margretta in 1973. The family resided in Sea Girt, NJ from 1961 to 1987. Charlie and Grace divorced in 1975 and maintained a very amicable relationship as they co-parented their three children until Charlie’s death in 1985.
In 1967, Grace was admitted by the Supreme Court of the United States of America
to practice law in the District of Columbia.
From 1968 to 1972, Grace Wreaks was elected to the Board of Education in Sea Girt, NJ. She was soon then elected to the position of Chairman of the Board of Education. In this role, she oversaw the conception, bond issuance and construction of a brand new Sea Girt Elementary School (K-8), completed in 1970. This was the first school ever (or since) constructed in the town of Sea Girt.
In the mid- and late-1970s, Grace Wreaks was elected Councilwoman
for two terms in the town of Sea Girt, NJ.
In 1973, Grace returned to her professional focus in trust and estate work and accepted a position as Trust Officer at Central Jersey Bank and Trust Co. Over the next several years she further advanced in her career to hold senior trust officer positions at Chatham Trust Company, Ocean County National Bank & Trust and Summit Bank Corp. During summers, she attended the National Graduate Trust School at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.
In the early 1980s, Grace accepted a Trust Officer position with the Bishop Trust Company in Honolulu, Hawaii. With her mother and youngest child, Margretta, she relocated to Hawaii to lead trust operations there. Missing her East Coast family and friends, Grace later returned to
New Jersey in 1983 to work, once again, for Summit Bank Corp.
In 1987, Grace moved to Dorset, VT. It was not long thereafter that she was “discovered” by Factory Point Bank & Trust Company in Manchester, VT. Grace worked part-time as a Trust Officer in Factor Point’s trust department for several years.
In the early-1990s, Grace purchased a second home in Hilton Head, SC where she quickly made a large number of new friends. Hilton Head remained a centerpiece of her life during the winter months throughout the 1990s and early 2000‘s, returning to Dorset for the spring,
summer and fall.
In 2016, at age 87, Grace was invited to address New York Law School’s Alumni Day reception 65 years after her graduation. Following her speech, she was swarmed by current law students and recent alumni expressing their gratitude for her trailblazing work for women at New York Law School and for women in the legal profession. A few months later, at age 88, in front of a crowd of thousands, Grace was invited to stand to be recognized at the
graduation ceremonies for New York Law School.
Having been admitted to the New York Bar over 70 years ago, Grace Blust Wreaks was potentially the longest serving female attorney in the State of New York
at the time of her death.
Grace was active in several episcopal churches throughout her life including; St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn Heights, NY, St Uriel’s, in Sea Girt, NJ, Zion Episcopal Church in Manchester Center, VT, St. Luke’s Church in Hilton Head, SC, St. Bartholemew’s Episcopal Church
in New York City, St. James Episcopal Church in Arlington, VT
and St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Emmaus, PA.
Grace Wreaks is survived by her son Charles (“Bill”) Fitzwilliam Wreaks, IV and his wife Samantha Catalina Wreaks and his mother-in-law, Zoila Clotilde Saltos of Zionsville, PA and by her daughter Margretta Isabelle Dearborn Wreaks Fischer and her husband Gary Steven Fischer of Arlington, VT. Grace is also survived by 14 grandchildren and their spouses:
Grace Love Fischer and her husband Lukas Crowder of Glennville, NY; Aden Dearborn Fischer of Montpelier; VT, Anna Margretta Laser and her husband James Laser of Bath, ME;
Elizabeth “Elle” Anderson Fischer of Burlington, VT; Chloé Catalina Wreaks of Zionsville, PA; Charlotte “Lottie” Thayer Fischer of Arlington, VT; Charles(“Fitz”) Fitzwilliam Wreaks, VI of Zionsville, PA; Toler Booraem Wreaks, II, of Zionsville, PA; Josef Anton Fischer of Arlington, VT; Hamilton (“Hami”) Ramsay Wreaks of Zionsville, PA; Isabelle (“Belle”) Dorothy Fischer of Arlington, VT; Paris Dearborn Wreaks of Zionsville, PA; Mary Rose Fischer of Arlington, VT;
and Francis Ruxton Fischer of Arlington, VT. Grace Wreaks was predeceased by her daughter Grace Anderson Wreaks.
A memorial service to celebrate the life of Grace Love Blust Wreaks is planned for Saturday, October 9, 2021 at 11:00 AM at St. James Episcopal Church in Arlington, VT.
A private interment ceremony is planned for a later date.