1924 – 2023

Norris LaDew Fant departed for the next Big Adventure on April 24, 2023 at age 99. He was preceded in death by his father and mother: Arlington Pope and Ruth Fitz-Gibbon Fant; by his three brothers: Arlington Pope, Jr., William Foster, and Donald Fitz-Gibbon Fant; by his oldest son Stephen Norris Fant (Lynda); and by his wonderful wife of 70 years: Daisy Lucille Barbre Fant. He is succeeded by two outstanding children: Katherine Ruth Fant Mulloy (Edward), and Donald Fitz-Gibbon Fant (Andrée), and three brilliant grandchildren: Stephen Marshall, Preston Lafaye, and Elise Lavie Fant. Norris was born January 23, 1924 in Fant Street Hospital, Anderson, S.C., where he spent the first five years with his parents and two siblings in the home of his paternal grandparents: Wilhelmina Norris and Foster Fant, or in the family bungalow in North Anderson. It was to these grandparents he and his siblings would return every summer between 1929 and 1938, for barefooted and cowboy-rigged play in the peach orchard, blackberry patch, grape yard, fig trees, corn field, courthouse square, and triple-cartoon double-feature movie (twenty degrees cooler inside) with his Aunts and Uncles (Fant’s Drugstore, Fant’s Bookstore) and cousins and many friends. In 1929, his parents and two siblings moved to Memphis, TN, where the fourth brother, Donald Fitz-Gibbon Fant (USNA, 1950), came aboard. In 1938 the family moved to New Orleans, where Norris had the good fortune of joining Sea Scout Ship Bienville and learning all things nautical. He graduated from Alcee Fortier High School in June, 1941, and enrolled in Tulane University, becoming a Freshman in the School of Engineering and a Midshipman 4th Class in the Tulane NROTC. He was subsequently commissioned and served nearly three years active sea duty in the South Pacific during World War II. Resuming a war-interrupted academic quest, Norris enrolled in Southwestern Louisiana Institute, where he met and, subsequently, married the lovely Daisy Lucille Barbre. After one year, he transferred to Louisiana State University (aboard his Harley Davidson motorcycle), where he graduated in 1948 with a BS in Mechanical Engineering. Later, he enrolled in the Early Bird Program at Tulane and earned a Master’s of Engineering Degree in 1976. Norris held several consecutive jobs at Chase Bag, Swedish Match, and Freeport Nickel, before settling in at Chevron Petrochemical, where he retired after 25 years. Idleness did not wear well, so he soon became a Contract Engineer with the firm of W. S. Nelson, which farmed him out into service with Freeport McMoran on the Main Pass Mine project in offshore Gulf of Mexico. Norris counted his greatest lifetime success to be his seventy years of happy and fruitful marriage to Miss Daisy – without whom their great family would not have occurred. That delightful lady was the light and inspiration of his life. After family, his three passions were reading, travel, and a plethora of continuing education. He and Daisy traveled the world together. He remained active until very recently, walking and biking all over town and swimming at the Tulane Reilly Center. Norris was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church, the Round Table Club, the American Legion, and the Tulane NROTC Alumni Association.

Published by The Times-Picayune on April 30, 2023.

Norris was a stalwart member of the Alumni Association and a great friend to all.  He will be missed.

Tulane Naval ROTC Alumni Association

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