J. Peter Grace

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J. Peter Grace
J. Peter Grace.jpg
Grace in 1982
Joseph Peter Grace Jr.

May 25, 1913
Manhasset, New York, United States
DiedApril 19, 1995(1995-04-19) (aged 81)
Manhattan, New York, United States
EducationYale University
Political partyDemocratic
Board member ofW. R. Grace and Company, Grace Shipping Company, Grace National Bank, Citicorp, Ingersoll-Rand, Magnavox
Margaret Fennelly
(m. 1941)
RelativesWilliam Russell Grace (grandfather)

Joseph Peter Grace Jr. (May 25, 1913 – April 19, 1995)[1] was an American industrialist who was president of the diversified chemical company, W. R. Grace & Co., for 48 years, making him the longest serving CEO of a public company.

Born in Manhasset, New York, he succeeded his father, Joseph Peter Grace Sr. (1872–1950), as President and CEO of W. R. Grace and Company in 1945 when his father suffered a stroke. The firm was founded by his grandfather William R. Grace, the first Roman Catholic to be elected Mayor of New York City. His maternal grandfather was Charles B. Macdonald, a major figure in early American golf who built the first 18-hole course in the United States.[2]

Personal life[edit]

According to a National Review article, "Grace was the kind of man who, at age seventy, Indian-wrestled fellow chairmen of the board at his desk, showered in the evening to save time getting to work in the morning, wore a Beretta pistol (for terrorists), and, as a conservative Democrat, took out a full-page ad in The New York Times to support President Ronald Reagan's tax cuts."[3]

He married Margaret Fennelly in 1941, and the couple remained together until his death.[4]

Grace was a Roman Catholic.[citation needed]


In the Oval Office in 1984

In the Kennedy administration, J. Peter Grace was head of the Commerce Department Committee on the Alliance for Progress.[5] President Reagan, in announcing the selection of J. Peter Grace to lead The Grace Commission on waste and inefficiency in the Federal government, said:

We have a problem that's been 40 years in the making, and we have to find ways to solve it. And I didn't want to ruin your appetites, so I waited till now to tell you this, but during the hour we're together here eating and talking, the Government has spent $83 million. And by the way, that includes the price of your lunch. [Laughter] Milton Friedman is right. There really is no such thing as a free lunch. The interest on our debt for the last hour was about $10 million of that.

In selecting your Committee, we didn't care whether you were Democrats or Republicans. Starting with Peter Grace, we just wanted to get the very best people we could find, and I think we were successful.

I'll repeat to you today what I said a week ago when I announced Peter's appointment: Be bold. We want your team to work like tireless bloodhounds. Don't leave any stone unturned in your search to root out inefficiency.[6]

Grace, a Democrat, was asked what he would say to the campaign theme of Walter Mondale, the 1984 Democratic Presidential candidate, that higher taxes would be required to ease the deficit regardless of who wins the November election.

"I'd tell him he's nuts," Grace said. "He's wrong. He's wrong."[7]

Awards and memberships[edit]

In 1967, he was awarded the Laetare Medal by the University of Notre Dame. In 1984, Grace received The Hundred Year Association of New York's Gold Medal Award "in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York." That year, he also received the S. Roger Horchow Award for Greatest Public Service by a Private Citizen, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards,[8] and the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.[9] Grace was a leader in the American Association of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Grace was a member of the conservative American organization the Council for National Policy.


  1. ^ "J. Peter Grace, Ex-Company Chief, Dies at 81". The New York Times. 21 April 1995. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  2. ^ [ Displaying Abstract ] (2012-04-16). "Miss MacDonald A Bride – She Is Wedded to Joseph P. Grace at Westbury, L.I. – Marriage Announcement". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
  3. ^ Meadows, Edward (1984-03-09). "Peter Grace knows 2,478 Ways to Cut the Deficit". Archived from the original on 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2006-09-04.
  4. ^ Gilpin, Kenneth N. (1995-04-21). "J. Peter Grace, Ex-Company Chief, Dies at 81". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Welcome – Right Web – Institute for Policy Studies". Rightweb.irc-online.org. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
  6. ^ "Remarks at a White House Luncheon With the Chairman and Executive Committee of the Private Sector Survey on Cost Control". Reagan.utexas.edu. 1982-03-10. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
  7. ^ Upi (13 August 1984). "Reagan's Cost-Control Chief Derides Mondale Over Taxes". Retrieved 22 December 2016 – via NYTimes.com.
  8. ^ "National – Jefferson Awards Foundation". Archived from the original on 24 November 2010. Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  9. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.

External links[edit]