Home>Articles>Donna Grozuczak, career pubic defender, dies at 64

Donna Grozuczak, right, with Denice Darcell Bradsher, her secretary for 14 years at Public Defenders' Office in Elizabeth.

Donna Grozuczak, career pubic defender, dies at 64

Was first NJ attorney to force Medicaid to pay for gender reassignment surgery

By David Wildstein, October 27 2019 4:28 pm

Donna Grozuczak, who became the first New Jersey attorney to successfully get Medicaid to overturn a denial of benefits for a transgender client’s gender reassignment surgery, died of cancer on October 18. She was 64.

Grozuczak argued that case in the 1980s while working for the Community Health Law Project, which provides legal aid to New Jerseyans with disabilities.

She later joined the New Jersey Office of the Public Advocate, where she spent 21 years as a law guardian attorney before her illness led to a May 2019 retirement.

In that post, Grozuczak represented children who were the victims of neglect and abuse, and in parental termination rights cases.

Grozuczak spent decades on the board of the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless.

“Donna had a ‘servant’s heart’ and was a ‘champion for children,'” said her secretary of fourteen years, Denice Darcell Bradsher.

She was a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Rutgers Law School – Newark.

She is survived by her husband, Eric Tunis, and her two daughters, Alexandra and Rebecca.

A celebration of Grozuczak’s life will be held at the First Congregational Church of Westfield on November 17 at 2:30 PM.

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