W. Thomas Gisriel

[Age 81] City native was lawyer specializing in real estate and savings and loan law

May 04, 2007

W. Thomas Gisriel, a retired attorney whose specialty was real estate and savings and loan law, died of heart failure Wednesday at the Blakehurst Retirement Community in Towson. The former Homeland resident was 81.

Mr. Gisriel was born and raised in Baltimore and graduated from Loyola High School in 1943. His studies at Loyola College were interrupted when he was drafted into the Navy in World War II and was assigned to radio communications.

After the war, he returned to Loyola where he played basketball and earned his bachelor's degree in 1948. For two years, he was starting center and leading rebounder on Loyola's then-nationally ranked basketball team.

After graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law in 1951, he began his career in the Baltimore city solicitor's office, and was deputy city solicitor during the brief administration of Mayor J. Harold Grady.

"During this time, he became deeply involved in Baltimore's urban renewal efforts and was responsible for the legal work for Charles Center," said a son, Thomas J. Gisriel of Stoneleigh.

In 1961, he was named president and a member of the board of American National Building and Loan Association. He established his own law firm in 1967, specializing in title work, real estate and savings and loan law. It became a father-and-son practice as Gisriel & Gisriel, and since 1993 has been Gisriel & Brush at 210 E. Lexington St.

Mr. Gisriel retired in 1997.

He was a director of the old Maryland Board of Savings and Loan Commissioners, which had been the primary state regulatory authority for savings and loans. He was also a former president of Maryland Savings and Loan Lawyers and the Advertising Club of Baltimore.

He had been president of the Maryland branch of the Orton Society, now the International Dyslexia Foundation, and was a member of Baltimore Country Club.

Mr. Gisriel was an avid sports fan, and liked spending time at his Ocean City condominium.

He was a parishioner of the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, 5300 N. Charles St., where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Monday.

Also surviving are his wife of 57 years, the former Mary Helen Link; two other sons, Michael U. Gisriel and Robert R. Gisriel, both of Baltimore; a daughter, Dr. Deborah L. Bittar of Timonium; a sister, Mary Lou Hearn of Riderwood; and eight grandchildren.

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