Robert Miller Gallant II, son of William Erskine Gallant, Sr. and Ione Peek Gallant, was born October 19, 1929, at Anderson County Hospital in South Carolina and died on September 15th at the age of 89 in his summer home in Blue Hill, Maine, with his family by his side.
He is survived by his wife, Mary (Louise) Calhoun Gallant; daughter, Elisabeth Gallant Fouché and her husband, Heyward; Robert Miller Gallant III and his wife, Anne, and their children Mary Louise and Miller; Anna Gallant Carter and her sons, Stuart and Sam; and William Andrew (Andy) Gallant and his children William, Perry, and Anna Katherine.
He was preceded in death by his brother and sister, William Erskine Gallant, Jr. and Margaret Gallant Sullivan.
Mr. Gallant was a life-long member of First Presbyterian Church where he served as a Deacon. He attended North Fant Grammar School, McCants Junior High School, and Anderson Boys High, followed by Davidson College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mr. Gallant was a distinguished graduate of the USAF Officer Candidate School and served as Intelligence Officer in the Alaskan Air Command. He then served eight years in the USAF Reserves.
Upon returning from Alaska, Mr. Gallant began his career in the family retail business, the Gallant-Belk Group, which consisted of some forty stores founded by his father when he opened the first store in 1919 in Anderson.
Mr. Gallant retired from retail after having served as Executive Vice-president, Supervising Partner, Director, and Anderson Store Manager. He was honored with numerous Achievement Awards over his years of service for the Anderson store and the Anderson Division. Mr. Gallant always attributed the strength and the robust growth of the business to the quality of the people employed by the stores. He thought of his employees as family and strongly believed the way you treated your employees was the way they would treat the customers, and service to customers was always at the top of his list.
Mr. Gallant’s name, like his father’s, was synonymous with civic leadership. He served as Director of Anderson Merchant’s Association, Anderson Chamber of Commerce, and South Carolina National Bank, as well as president of the Anderson County Citizens for Progress Committee. His love for Anderson led him to be a founding member of the Anderson Downtown Redevelopment Association, whose first accomplishment was to preserve the Anderson County Courthouse, saving it from demolition.
In addition to his retailing and civic responsibilities, Mr. Gallant was involved in real estate as a developer and loyal landlord to fellow retailers. Mr. Gallant’s varied interests and knowledge contributed to many friends and family referring to him as their favorite renaissance man, a complement he never accepted. He believed that a person could do anything a person wanted to if there were a good book to be found on the subject.
Over his many years, he enjoyed sailing on Lake Hartwell and the shores of South Carolina and Maine, aerobatics in his small plane decorated in blue and white stripes and shooting stars, photography, sculpture, poetry, architecture, collecting art, and spoiling his dedicated canine companion, Rooney. He loved most of all sharing these joys with family and friends.
As much as Mr. Gallant loved South Carolina and his friends there, it was a night spent as a young boy at a fish camp with his family in Maine that sparked his love for New England.
After he retired from Gallant-Belk, he and Mary began spending summers in the small towns of Brooklin and Blue Hill, Maine, where they made many additional friends with whom they were able to share art, music, and sailing.
Arrangements were previously announced as being held on October 10th; however, the family will now receive friends on Friday, October 11, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 302 W. Whitner St., Anderson, SC 29624. The memorial service will follow at 12:30 p.m. with Dr. Dennis Tedder officiating.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Northern Light Home Care & Hospice of Hancock County, 441 Main St., Ellsworth, ME 04605, First Presbyterian Church, or a non-profit of the donor’s choice. www.mcdougaldfuneralhome.com
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