Robert Monte “Bob” Gants was born on August 19, 1937 at Fort Bragg, NC.
The son of Colonel Robert Tuthill Gants, an Army medical doctor, and Frances
Langmade Gants, both from Kansas, he spent his childhood at various Army posts
in the States and, after World War II, in post-war Germany. It was in Germany
that Bob learned to love the opera. After returning to the United States, the
family lived at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, where his
father was chief of the Surgical Department. From then on, Washington became
Bob’s home base.
Bob graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy in 1956, and it was there
that he cemented his desire to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Upon graduation from Valley Forge he enlisted in the Army and applied for an
appointment to the Academy’s Preparatory School. He entered West Point in 1957
and soon excelled in many areas of endeavor, maintaining a high standard of
physical conditioning, a great sense of humor (especially needed for plebes),
an honest character, and a willingness to assist other cadets in meeting the
demands of the Academy. He graduated in the Class of 1961.
Bob then served on active duty as an Infantry officer. His first assignment
was with the 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry at Fort Devens, MA (platoon leader,
company commander, acting battalion S3). In 1964, after three years of
service, he resigned with the rank of first lieutenant.
After leaving active duty, Bob began a successful career as an attorney and
lobbyist. In 1965 he attended the Washington College of Law of the American
University in Washington, DC, receiving his Juris Doctor degree in 1967. He
and Norma were married that year and were happily married for 48 years.
His interest in government relations and lobbying began when he was appointed
Counsel to the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee of the U.S. House of
Representatives. After working on the Hill for several years Bob went on to
work for the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration, a
predecessor agency to the Department of Energy, as an assistant director in
the Office of Congressional Relations. He loved his work there and was
involved in the implementation, coordination and review of ERDA’s
congressional activities for environment, safety planning and analysis.
Later as Vice President for Government Relations for the National
Constructor’s Association, Bob conceived and directed the U.S. and Overseas
Employees Tax Fairness Committee and its successful campaign to repeal 1976
Section 911 tax law changes adversely affecting American competitiveness in
world markets. He was recognized with several awards, including “International
Man of the Year, 1979” by the Overseas Craftsman’s Association. And during
ensuing employment with the Home Appliance Manufacturers, as Vice President
for Government Relations, Bob’s focus was on representing appliance
manufacturers in energy efficiency standards rule makings before the U.S.
Department of Energy. He was proud to have worked on the successful passage of
the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, which set federal energy
efficiency standards for home appliances.
In 1995 Bob found his true calling in the practice of law and became a partner
in the Alexandria, VA law firm of Redmon, Peyton & Braswell, LLC, where he
practiced for the rest of his life. He particularly enjoyed working just
blocks from his home in Old Town, Alexandria. His practice areas included
bankruptcy, domestic relations, government relations, trusts and estates. He
litigated cases in all those areas of the law, handling challenging matters
referred to him by his partners as well as those from his numerous clients. He
often represented his partner, Gordon Peyton, as trustee in contested
bankruptcy matters in the Eastern District of Virginia. He was referred to as
the “utility infielder” by his partners because he could handle anything that
was thrown at him, no matter how unusual.
Bob was active in the Alexandria Chapter of the Rotary Club, the local Bar
Association, the Old Dominion Boat Club, the Alexandria Businessman’s Club and
St. Mary’s Catholic Church. He was passionate about many things: he was an
avid sailor, he modeled boats, was a voracious reader of history, played chess
every week (almost always won), went antiquing with Norma, and loved to play
golf. He loved being with his family and friends and will always be remembered
for his loud, raucous laugh.
He was a loving and devoted father and was immensely proud of his two sons:
Robert Daniel, married to Paola; and Monte Arthur, married to Brenda; and his
daughter, Erica, married to Thierry. His three grandsons—Timothy, Robert and
Owen—filled him with great joy.
During his final years Bob was afflicted with a difficult and serious strain
of cancer. Through his fortitude and with the unyielding assistance of Norma,
he successfully overcame the cancer and, not only that, assisted others to
live with and overcome their cancer.
Bob was also extremely proud of having graduated from West Point and always
lived his life with “Duty, Honor, Country” foremost in his thoughts. He died
on November 28, 2015 of respiratory failure and is inurned at West Point.
He will be forever missed.