Robert N. DuRant was born July 5, 1919, in Manning, SC, to parents Charlton DuRant and Elizabeth Nelson DuRant. He received his A.B. from Furman University and earned his LL.B from the USC School of Law, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order and Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity.
From 1941 until 1942 and from 1946 until 1950, he practiced law in Manning as a member of the firm of DuRant & DuRant, DuRant, DuRant and Plowden and, later, DuRant, DuRant and Rogers. While in Manning, he was a member of the Manning Methodist Church, where he taught a men’s Bible class.
He volunteered as a Private in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 and was released from active duty as a Captain in 1946. He returned to active duty in 1950 to serve in the Korean War. He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel after serving as Chief Trial Attorney, Department of the Army and Chief Contact Appeals branch of the Judge Advocate General’s Office, Washington, DC. In Germany, he served as a Sunday school teacher and Sunday school superintendent at Frankfurt Central Chapel and president of Northern Area Command Men of the Chapel. In France, he was Staff Judge Advocate of Fourth Logistical Command, president of the Verdun Parent-Teachers Association and was awarded The Verdun Medal by the City of Verdun.
From 1967 until 1974, he was executive vice president of the S.C. Bankers Association. He also served as president of the Southern Conference of Bankers Associations and president of the S.C. Society of Association Executives. When the SC Bar and the SC Bar Association merged in 1975, he became its first executive director, and served in this position until his retirement in 1985. He served two terms as president of the National Association of Bar Executives, and also served as a member of the House of Delegates of the American Bar Association. In honor of his father, Charlton DuRant, he and his wife established the DuRant Distinguished Public Service Award with the SC Bar Foundation.
As a member of Shandon United Methodist Church since 1957, he was a member and chair of the Administrative Board, president of the Methodist Men, chair of the annual fund campaign and Staff-Parish Committee, member of the Finance Committee and Council on Ministries, a Stephen Minister and a member of the Joy Sunday School Class.
He served as a member and chair of the Board of Trustees of Epworth Children’s Home, member and board member of the Columbia Rotary Club and on the board of Richland County March of Dimes. He was a member of the Palmetto Club, Forest Lake Club, Cotillion Club, Quadrille and former member of the Summit Club and Spring Valley Country Club. He was a life member of the Military Officers Association of America and served twice as chair of the Still Hopes Resident Council. For more than 55 years, he grew pine trees in Clarendon County and was an active member of the S.C. Forestry Association.
Robert N. DuRant died on May 28, 2012. He is survived by his wife, Julia McLain DuRant; his children, Robert N. DuRant Jr. (Suzi), William C. DuRant (Lynn) and Julia D. Kimbrell (Curtis); grandchildren, Louise K. Lindsay (Lucas), Robert G. Kimbrell and William C. DuRant Jr.; and great-grandchildren, Elizabeth G. Lindsay and Alexander C. Lindsay. He was predeceased by a daughter, Louise.