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Joseph Gawler’s Sons, LLC

5130 Wisconsin Ave Nw, Washington, DC

AVIS DE DÉCÈS

Lester "Ruff" Glenn Fant III

24 janvier , 194119 mai , 2019

Lester Glenn (“Ruff”) Fant, III, of Washington, D.C. died Sunday, May 19, surrounded by his loving family.

Ruff was born to Lester Glenn Fant, Jr. and Gladys Sage Fant in Memphis, Tennessee on January 24, 1941. A native of Holly Springs, Mississippi, Ruff spent most of his adult life in Washington, D.C. He leaves behind his wife, Susan Braselton Fant; three children, James Selden Fant (Christine) of Los Angeles, California, Cordelia Judith Fant (Kevin O’Malley) of Madison, Wisconsin, and Henry Collier Fant of Washington, D.C.; three grandchildren, Enzo Freeland Gallo, Nico Samuel Gallo and Erik Shane Fant; and a brother, William Henry Sage Fant, and sister, Nancy Fant Smith; and his former wife, Barbara G. Fant.

Ruff graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1963 and from Harvard Law School in 1966. He was on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1966-69, rising to the rank of captain and earning a Navy Achievement Medal for his service.

He had a long and successful career in business and the law. Most recently, Ruff was Chairman of Galway Partners and Tow-Path Partners, LLC and their predecessor specialty finance companies that he founded in 1999. He was founder and Managing Director of Arena Investments. Highlights of his legal career include tenures as a partner at Cohen & Uretz and Sidley & Austin, where he sat on the executive committee, and as in-house counsel for Cassidy and Associates. Ruff was an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law Center for 18 years while he practiced law, teaching an advanced course in corporate taxation and ethics in the graduate program. He was awarded the American Bar Association Award for Professional Merit.

Ruff devoted himself to education, historic preservation and land conservation. He served on the Visiting Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences at Vanderbilt University and on the Dean’s Advisory Board at Harvard Law School. He was a Trustee of Sidwell Friends School and Aidan Montessori School. He was Chairman of the Fudan Foundation, which supports the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Ruff was Chairman Emeritus of President Lincoln’s Cottage. He served on the Board and as Chairman the Civil War Trust (now American Battlefield Trust). He served on the Board of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Ruff sat on the Advisory Board of the Partnership for Responsible Growth. Ruff was a member of Foundry United Methodist Church and attended St. Alban’s Episcopal Church.

A funeral service will be held at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. on May 31, 2019 at 4 p.m. with a burial in Braselton, Georgia on June 7. A memorial service is planned in Holly Springs, Mississippi at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be directed to President Lincoln’s Cottage, First Methodist Church of Holly Springs, Mississippi, and Preserve Marshall County and Holly Springs, Inc.

Services

  • Funeral Mass vendredi, 31 mai , 2019

Souvenirs

Lester "Ruff" Glenn Fant III

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A Friend of Delia and Jamie

18 juin , 2019

I was so sorry to hear of Ruff’s death and wanted to share some memories of him. You all were an important part of my childhood. I always felt welcome in your home and enjoyed the parties, some with string quartets, others that were hoe downs. I remember Ruff’s care in making his special eggnog, and I remember he was a good sport about letting Beth and me test him with increasingly spicy foods once we learned that he liked spice. I remember how he hummed to Delia to settle her down for a nap or bedtime. My first job ever was watching Delia after school. I rode the bus to your house by myself, which we would never let kids do today, but it gave me a sense of confidence and mastery. In 1989, Ruff gave me my first professional job as a paralegal at Sidley, which became a strong item in my resume and interviews when applying for summer associate positions in law school. I regret that he had to pass away so soon and so suddenly. Many happy memories help but do not make up for his loss.

Celia Griffin

17 juin , 2019

Ruff Fant was our Osborne Tour guide to Europe with 24 other coeds from southern universities for two months in the summer of 1964. We were amazed at his effective and gentle ability to make sure everyone was taken care of and having fun. Toward the end of the long trip, Ruff got on the microphone in the bus and offered us a very important life lesson. We had started in London, traveled through central Europe to Venice, had spent a week in Greece before taking a 7-day Greek Island Cruise, and returned via Italy to the French Riviera. Somewhere late in the afternoon between Avignon and the medieval town of Carcassonne, Ruff realized that we were a very weary group and he needed to rally the troops, so he spoke wisely to this effect: “We’ve had an amazing trip and seen wonderful things and I know you are tired. However, we have been enjoying a fantastic banquet and the next part of our trip is the dessert. One day you’ll look back and realize what an extraordinary part of France is in store for our last week.” We continued to the Loire Valley and into Paris with a renewed spirit and perspective. Ruff never showed favorites, and we like to think that the insight he got that summer with 26 coeds better prepared him for the rest of the banquet. Celia A. Griffin, Birmingham, and Sally Q. Gates, Columbus, Ga.

Christian Ruth

6 juin , 2019

Dear Susan, James, Delia, Henry, Enzo, Nico, Erik and Barbara,

I would like to offer my sincere condolences on the passing of your husband, father, grandfather and friend - Mr. “Ruff’ Fant.

It seems like only yesterday when I was chasing my older brother (John) as we rounded the corner of Macomb and 45th streets in Wesley Heights. Our hearts were pounding with tremendous anticipation of what the day at “Jamie and Delia’s” would have for us. Would it be playing football in the yard, “flying” on the rope swing, competing in summer games on the Commodore 64, going swimming at Mt. Vernon where you could miraculously survive an accidental belly flop your first time jumping off the high dive, going to the farm or obtaining the most coveted of prizes ---- an invitation to Little Switzerland???!!! (“But Delia, I’m only 8 and don’t have any money for a passport so we will have to do a lemonade stand. How much money do we need?”)

Oh the possibilities….

More often than not, upon arriving at the Fant’s John and I were greeted at the door by the only man in our lives that seemed excited to see us… a man that we loved and considered our second father - Mr. Fant. He always welcomed us with his booming voice… “Hello John! Hello Christian!”

After a day of fun when night fall snuck up on us and we were sad to leave, almost always Mr. Fant would grab Patty and walk us home safely. What wonderful memories.

(Cont'd 1 of 2).

Christian Ruth

6 juin , 2019

(Cont’d post 2 of 2)

Beyond being integral to my fond childhood memories, Mr. Fant was a significant influence in my life and in honor of him being laid to rest this weekend, I would like to share some words of wisdom that he shared with me many years ago. I believe that his advice reflects his qualities, values, grace, compassion and his unconditional love for others.

I was facing significant academic and financial adversity at the age of 19. While my older brother had taught me how to compete at the highest level through relentless perseverance, I didn’t really understand how to recover from failure – especially when self-induced.

In June of 1993, while attending Delia’s Sidwell pre-graduation party, I had a chance to talk with Mr. Fant privately. I could barely look Mr. Fant in the eye as I explained my decisions and actions that led to - what seemed to me at the time – an unrecoverable situation. I was about to lose everything that I had spent my entire young life working towards.

However, instead of judging me as so many others had already done, Mr. Fant graciously mentored me. I feel that his advice from that day is timeless and should be shared with everyone – whether they are 19 or 90. I sincerely hope it offers encouragement to his beloved family, friends and their future generations when they are inevitably confronted with the setbacks of life.

Here is what Mr. Fant said to me that June day 26 years ago,

“It’s going to be okay. You just made a mistake, Christian – that’s all. We learn from our mistakes. We’re only as good as our last game. Don’t worry, you may have had a bad game, but the season isn’t over….. It’s not too late……. It’s never too late to start again.”

On behalf of my wife, my five daughters and me, thank Mr. Fant for believing in me and showing me how to recover from failure – when practically nobody else thought I could.

My deepest sympathies and love to all of you-

Christian

Debbie McCain Wesley

5 juin , 2019

While my initial encounter with Mr. Fant was brief, it was memorable. I had the pleasure of meeting him along with his lovely wife Susan and son Henry at an Ole Miss Admissions event in March. As we spoke standing in the Grove, I could tell immediately that he loved his family and friends, believed strongly in education and was committed to his southern roots. He was welcoming and unpretentious, which made our conversation that much more delightful. We talked about Sidwell Friends, as I was hoping to secure a visit there this fall. May he rest peacefully and may his family find endless comfort in the Comforter.

john chapman

4 juin , 2019

This is an update to a memory I just sent.
I met Ruff as soon as we entered law school, roomed with him for two years, first on Harvard Street and then at Lincoln’s Inn, and have been a close friend ever since. With all the memories, marriage, children, careers, I have been trying to think of some common denominator for all my associations and came up with reading. Reading everything, newspapers, magazines, novels, history, biographies. Whenever I talked with Ruff invariably one or the other would ask “what are you reading?” In law school Ruff subscribed to the Holly Springs South Reporter which we read avidly (a typical headline “Three Bobcats Felled By Mr. Bumpus”). I remember him delivering to me a biography on Edie Sedgewick, Andy Warhol’s original Superstar, at my office in Chicago because he thought we might have met her at some party or other in Cambridge (unlikely). Roy Blount and I stood up for Ruff at his wedding to Barbara and for years he would send me a copy of Roy’s latest book before I could buy one. Sitting in our kitchen, Ruff introduced me to the best WW I memoir, Sigfried Sassoon’s “The Memoirs of George Sherston” which had been recommended by his friend and neighbor Jody Powell. Not long ago, Ruff told me he was rereading Hemingway, a favorite of both of ours. About a year ago he sent me a CD of Churchill’s wartime speeches and I know this winter he was reading Andrew Roberts’ very long new Churchill biography, which he loved. So as I say goodbye to my old friend, these are some of the memories I will hold dear.

john chapman

4 juin , 2019

I met Ruff as soon as we entered law school, roomed with him for two years, first on Harvard Street and then at Lincoln’s Inn, and have been a close friend ever since. With all the memories, marriage, children, careers, I have been trying to think of some common denominator for all my associations, and came up with reading. Reading everything, newspapers, magazines,, novels, history, biographies. Whenever I talked with Ruff invariably one or the other would ask “what are you reading?” In law school Ruff subscribed to the Holly Springs South Reporter which we read avidly (a typical headline “Three Bobcats party or other in Cambridge (unlikely). Roy Blount and I stood up for Ruff at his wedding to Barbara and for years he would send me a copy of Roy’s latest book before I could buy one. Sitting in our kitchen, Ruff introduced me to the best WW I memoir, Sigfried Sassoon’s “The Memoirs of George Sherston” Felled By Mr. Bumpus”). I remember him delivering to me a biography on Edie Sedgewick, Andy Warhol’s original Superstar, at my office in Chicago because he thought we might have met her at some which had been recommended by his friend and neighbor Jody Powell. Not long ago, Ruff told me he was rereading Hemingway, a favorite of both of ours. About a year ago he sent me a CD of Churchill’s wartime speeches and I know this winter he was reading Andrew Roberts’ very long new Churchill biography, which he loved. So as I say goodby to my old friend, these are some of the memories I will hold dear.

John Dowd

4 juin , 2019

I was honored to serve in the Marines with Ruff and for a while in the law business in DC. He was a brilliant lawyer and good citizen. I am sorry for his loss but know he is in a better place.
v/r
John M. Dowd

Delia Fant

2 juin , 2019

Thank you all so much for sharing your kind memories and love. As requested, here are the words I read at my sweet dad’s service:

Good afternoon and welcome.
My name is Delia and I am proud and grateful to be Ruff Fant’s daughter. It’s an honor to be here with you and offer a few remarks about my beloved dad.
As surely you all know, my father was a complete original.
He sang and walked me to sleep in the upstairs hallway as a baby and happily did the same for any child or grandchild anywhere that needed holding, or comfort, or simply the joy of a great song. And they were all unquestionably great songs. Thanks to Ruff, my childhood friends and neighbors, as well as my kiddos and I, still regularly dance in our living rooms to Motown, a healthy dose of Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan, and enough Chuck Berry to keep you straight.
By the time I started kindergarten, he had insisted enough times that I could grow up to be whomever I wanted to be, that I knew he was right. Whether the President, or an astronaut, or maybe, even a librarian.
He taught me to love the nightly walk of a devoted dog, to know exactly the right moment to flip the pancakes on the griddle, and how to drive the family station wagon in the driveway at his farm on the Antietam battlefield at thirteen, his red stick-shift Chevy S-10 pickup truck by the following year.
His wisdom, judgement and endless devotion helped us navigate and endure life’s tragedies, as well as recognize and revel in its triumphs. And he had a way of bringing our big, wild family together with joy and

laughter, through good times and bad, with his unparalleled sense of humor and wit, and his ability to spin one helluva a yarn.
Growing up in the Jim Crow segregated South, he understood from the very beginning the great injustice that all folks were not offered the same dignity and opportunity, and bestowed upon us an intimate sense of how love is truly colorblind.
At the same time, he appreciated and loved everything wonderful

Jim Pickman

2 juin , 2019

I got to know Ruff when we entered Harvard Law School in 1963. Along with John Chapman and Ron Borod, we four shared an apartment the following year. There are countless memories of Ruff during our law school time together and the years beyond. One in particular that occurred to me recently makes me smile.

As we were nearing graduation, there was constant talk among classmates about what we were going to do next. I remember being with Ruff and a group of graduates to be, when he was asked, “Ruff, are you going to work in the city next year [New York was the hot choice then]? Ruff responded: “Jackson?”

Spurning all cities, Ruff joined the US Marines and went to Camp Lejeune.

DE LA FAMILLE