Obituary – Lester Glenn (“Ruff”) Fant, III
Published 12:48 pm Monday, June 3, 2019
Lester Glenn (“Ruff”) Fant, III, 78, of Washington, D.C. died Sunday, May 19,
surrounded by his loving family.
A funeral service was 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.
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.
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.