Union Theological Seminary Mourns

In Memoriam: Blake T. Franklin ’88

Categories: Union News


Attorney, gay activist and specialist in international law, he was 81


Photo of Blake FranklinBlake T. Franklin was a partner first at Coudert Brothers, then later based in the New York office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP for 25 years.  He practiced banking, corporate, and general law; he was a specialist in International Law and, in particular, Latin American matters.

He earned a B.A. degree from Dartmouth College. And his Juris Doctor from Harvard Law School.  In the late 1980s, he took enough courses at Union to be considered an alum; while he didn’t finish a degree, he was assigned the class year 1988.

He served on Union’s Board of Trustees from 1996 to 2004, 2006 to 2015, and 2016 until his death on January 2, 2024.

During his nearly 25 years of active service, Blake chaired the Trusteeship Committee, co-chaired the Development Committee, and served on many committees including the Executive Committee, Ad Hoc Senior Administration Committee, Compensation and Personnel Committee, Educational Policy Committee, Institutional Issues Committee, Investment Committee, Nominating Committee, Personnel Committee, and Union Medal Committee; he wore all these hats with spectacular grace, disarming wit and good humor, never got in a flap about anything, and  ̶  as one Seminary staff member commented  ̶  was always nice to everybody.  During his mandated absences from the Board, he continued to serve in an advisory capacity on several committees.

Blake devoted his remarkable skills and life-long experience servicing in the world as an AID contractor with the Peace Corps. He was a visiting professor of communal law at the University of Costa Rica at San José; and served on numerous Boards of Governors, Directors and Trustees, among them: National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade; the USO; the Board of Foreign Parishes; St. Hilda’s and St. Hugh’s School; the National Law Center for Inter-American Free Trade; the University of Arizona; the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); and the Bolivian-American Chamber of Commerce.

A devoted churchman, Blake served as Chancellor and a vestry member of St. Michael’s Church, in New York City.  He was also active in numerous LGBTQ causes, fighting the good fight for marriage equality, and networking with various agencies, groups, and foundations to procure treatment and medication for those who are HIV positive. Sweet, kind, courageous, and forever in our hearts.

He is survived by his husband Thomas Getgood, his sister Barbara Quinton of Angels Camp, CA, his brother Barry Franklin of Mercer Island, WA, and nephews Derek and Colin Franklin.

The memorial service is on Saturday, January 20 at 1 pm at St. Mary’s Church, 428 Park Avenue, Laguna Beach, CA 92651. Reception following service.