Longtime TFAS supporter G. Ross French passed away on October 7, 2020. Mr. French, 99, was widely admired by friends and family for his generous spirit and love of country. He was a longtime supporter of TFAS, its mission and its work.
Mr. French’s son Geordie, who served on the TFAS Board of Regents for a number of years, observed of his father that “like all good men of his generation he was self-deprecating. He landed at Omaha Beach, thankfully as he said, ‘six weeks after the main festivities …’ But from there, it was onto the Hedgerows and Saint Lo … the Triumphant March through Paris … and Germany, where he was seriously wounded in September of 1944, leading to the amputation of one leg. He never let that become a limitation, doing more with me than most dads, including playing catch most summer evenings upon his return from work, singles tennis in 95-degree heat and humidity, etc.”
In July of 2016, during the celebration of his 95th birthday, a luncheon was held in his honor to raise money for the Ross French American Patriots Fund to provide scholarships for TFAS students.
TFAS Trustee Fred Barnes, Chairman Randy Teague, President Roger Ream ’76, and his personal friends attended the luncheon, which raised $30,000 in scholarship support that year.
TFAS Board member Fred Barnes, a longtime friend of the Frenches, commented, “It was always a pleasure to spend time with Ross. He was a great man, exemplified through his military service, involvement in civic affairs, and appreciation for our precious national heritage.”
TFAS President Ream noted that “Ross was a patriot who had a great love for his family and for the principles upon which this country has been built. His generous support and that of those who have given in his honor has enabled students to attend TFAS programs and learn about our experiment in liberty.”
Chairman Teague added, “While we know the phrase ‘The Greatest Generation’ in reference to millions who saved Europe and Asia, perhaps even the United States, from the Axis powers, that number vastly obscures the reality that that generation consisted of Great Men and Great Women. Mr. French was a Great Man.”
Mr. French lived in Lutherville Timonium, Maryland, and previously spent the winters in Delray Beach, Florida. He was predeceased by his wife of 54 years, the former Kitsy Iglehart, in 2004, along with his daughter, Meg, in 2008. In addition to his son Geordie and wife Kirby, along with his son-in-law, Mike Sicher, he leaves eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren.
Mr. French was a 1939 graduate of The Gilman School in Baltimore and a 1943 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He pursued a career in sales management, retiring in 1985 as Senior VP for Sales at National Wire Co., in Sparrows Point, Maryland.