Born into a family of prominent lawyers in New York City on May 18, 1930, George J. Gillespie, III received an A.B. magna cum laude from Georgetown University in 1952 and an LL.B. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1955, where he was a Case Editor of the Law Review and received a Sheldon Traveling Fellowship.
George joined Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in 1956, became a partner in 1963 and retired in 2005. He was named Special Counsel to the Firm in 2006. Known for his sage advice and precise writing, George's practice focused on Trusts and Estates, and he worked primarily with the Firm's private clients.
The lawyers and staff of Cravath mourn the passing of George, their partner, colleague and friend. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and all of those who were fortunate enough to know him.
For 32 years, George served on the Board of The Washington Post Company, where he helped to guide the strategic direction of the company while advising Katharine and Donald E. Graham, the controlling owners and publishers. George also served on the Board of White Mountains Insurance Group for 25 years, where he performed a similar strategic advisory role to insurance legend, John J. "Jack" Byrne.
Assiduously dedicated to his numerous philanthropic endeavors, George was former President and Chairman of the Executive Committee of Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, which supports more than 5,000 disadvantaged youth in New York City annually. He was especially proud to recently participate in the groundbreaking ceremony for a new $80 million clubhouse in Harlem.
George was also Co-Founder and Chair of the Oversight Committee of the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Mount Sinai Hospital, and a Board member, former Chairman and Chairman Emeritus of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
For many years, George was the Chair of the Board and then Chairman Emeritus of The Pinkerton Foundation, and the President and Treasurer of the John M. Olin Foundation. His many Board memberships included the William S. Paley Foundation, NYU Langone Medical Center, the Paley Center for Media, the Greenpark Foundation, the Edmond J. Safra Foundation, the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and The Jackson Laboratory in Maine.
George was also a member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.
George held a special fondness for his summer community of Prouts Neck, Maine, where he was Honorary Chair of the Winslow Homer Studio Campaign which financed the restoration of iconic American painter Winslow Homer's studio for the Portland Museum of Art.
George was also an avid and skilled golfer, who participated in many USGA Senior events and shot his age many times. He loved to play bridge and was a member of the famed "Corporate America" team sponsored by Malcolm Forbes, which included Warren Buffett and took on teams from U.S. Congress and the British House of Lords 25 years ago.
George is survived by his four children and their spouses: Gail Gillespie Garcia (Michael) of Bluffton, SC, John Davies Gillespie (Andrea Borden) of Guilford, CT, Myles David Gillespie (Kimberly Idler) of Rye, NY and Eileen Gillespie Fahey (Timothy) of Scarborough, ME. He is also survived by his ten grandchildren: Lindsay D. Garcia, William W. Garcia, Henry G. Garcia, Bradford Casey Gillespie, Lucas T. Gillespie, Chloe S. Gillespie, Myles D. Gillespie, Jr., John T. Gillespie, Caroline M. Gillespie and George T. Fahey. He is also survived by sisters Jane Steinthal of Rye Brook, NY, Helen Plaia of Weston, CT and Barbara Childs of Palm City, FL. He is predeceased by his wife of 60 years, Eileen Dealy Gillespie, and three siblings: Mary Sandzen of Greenville, SC, Dorothy Duffy of Stuart, FL and Peter Gillespie of Endwell, NY.
A wake will be held on Thursday, September 21, from 3:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Graham Funeral Home located at 1036 Boston Post Road in Rye, New York. A funeral service will be held on Friday, September 22, at 11:00 a.m. at the Church of the Resurrection located at 910 Boston Post Road in Rye, New York. Charitable donations in honor of George may be made to the Madison Square Boys & Girls Club or the Corinne Goldsmith Dickinson Center for Multiple Sclerosis at Mount Sinai Hospital.