Riverview Funeral Home

Obituary for Brian Poor Townsend Blake

A photograph of Brian Poor Townsend Blake

Born: Seattle, WA
Lived: Shelton

Brian Poor Townsend Blake, of Shelton, CT, loving husband and proud father, died at the West Haven, CT Veterans Administration hospice on October 5, 2019, aged 79, with his family by his side.
Brian was born in Seattle, WA in 1940, the son of Ruth Poor Blake and Forrester Avery Blake, a novelist. He graduated from Pomfret School, Pomfret, CT in 1958, spent his summers from 1957-1959 as a merchant marine, and attended Harvard College, where he enjoyed his membership in the Harvard Lampoon. He graduated cum laude in 1962. Upon graduation, he received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. Stationed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, and at RAF Chicksands in the U.K., he served his country through perhaps the tensest period of the Cold War. Honorably discharged in 1965, Brian joined a civilian construction firm, RML-BRJ, providing services for the U.S. military in South Vietnam. He remained in Saigon through the 1966 Tet Offensive.
Returning to the States in 1968, he settled in New York City and entered real estate finance. He pursued his career with firms including Metropolitan Life, Manufacturers Hanover, Dean Witter, and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.
Brian’s happiest moments were connected to his family. His 1978 marriage to Gretchen Groat, the birth in 1980 of his son, Brian Andrews, Brian Andrews’ marriage to Emily Mcllwaine Blake, and the birth of a grandson, Finn, provided endless opportunities for him to reminisce. Brian was a proud descendant of some of North America’s earliest European settlers and founders of the United States. His life’s work was genealogy, and he spent much of his later life and retirement writing a book that places the Blake family in the context of history. Brian was a member of several organizations including the Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York where he served three years as President, the Society of Colonial Wars, the Order of Founders and Patriots, and the New England Society. For many years he was a member of the Union Club of New York.
Brian is survived by Gretchen, his wife of 41 years, his son Brian Andrews and daughter-in-law Emily, grandson Finn, siblings John, Roger, Priscilla and Tony, sisters-in-law Terry and Judy, niece Ashley, her husband Jeff and their family, and nephew Owen. A memorial service will be held at the Church of the Heavenly Rest, 1085 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10128 on Saturday, November 16, 2019, at 3:30 p.m.. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York, 150 E. 55th St., New York 10022.