Jean-Pierre Gabriel, a banker and former diplomat, died January 8, 2019 at his home in Williamsburg, Virginia. He was 94 years old.
Born in Alsace-Lorraine, a territory along the Rhine fiercely contested over the centuries
by both France and Germany, he made plans to escape the occupation to avoid conscription into the German Army or into the German Labor Service made obligatory on May 8, 1941 for all
young men between 17 and 25 years of age. He escaped the Nazi occupation with the assistance of the underground. After months in refugee camps he enlisted in the Air Force. He received his basic and flight training in Morocco. After the landing of US forces in North Africa, he was selected to be part of a small contingent assigned to Washington. Arriving in the US in May
1943, he participated in the training of flying crews integrated in various US Air Force bases.
After discharge from the Air Force, J.P., as he preferred to be called, embarked upon a long financial career — international in scope — in both commercial and investment banking.
After a short assignment with the French Treasury Delegation in New York, he was reassigned to the Financial Counselor Office of the French Embassy in Washington, D.C. as Deputy Financial Counselor, he actively participated in the implementation of many financial transactions generated by the post – war reconstruction and aid programs (Marshall Plan).
In 1953, Mr. Gabriel started a commercial banking career with American Security Bank, Washington, D.C. (which was acquired by Bank of America), creating its first International Banking Department.
Subsequently, he accepted a challenging position at Bankers Trust, New York, with increasingly larger responsibilities in the International Banking Department. He resigned in 1965 while posted as Resident Vice President in Washington, D.C.
As a member of the sales staff of Alex. Brown & Sons, Baltimore, Maryland, Mr. Gabriel developed institutional business, being primarily responsible for major institutional accounts in New York and abroad. He became a limited partner in 1978.
Mr. Gabriel was then appointed U.S. representative of Bank Leu Ltd., the oldest Swiss bank, and elected Chairman of Swiss American Management, Inc. Six years later, he opened a full service branch of Bank Leu Ltd. in New York.
At the time of his death, he was President of Williamsburg Capital Management, Inc. The Gabriel Family moved to Williamsburg in 1990.
He is survived by his beloved wife Nancy of almost 72 years, a daughter, Deborah Mansfield, a son Brian Keller Gabriel, and three grandchildren Winfield Glascock and Marta and Keller Gabriel.
A private internment will be held. The family requests that gifts in J.P.’s memory be sent to the Williamsburg Presbyterian Church Building Fund, 215 Richmond Road.