Jeff Stout passed away unexpectedly in February at age 55, leaving the community shocked and mourning the man whose accomplishments and service to the area were wide-ranging and far-reaching.
Few are known their never-ending generosity, humbleness, and servitude. Stout had all three in spades.
It is for Stout’s lifetime of giving back to Howard County that he is being named the Kokomo Perspective’s 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award winner.
Stout was perhaps best known as the owner of Stout Funeral Homes and Crematory. The family-owned business was founded in 1890 near Russiaville by Stout’s great-great-grandfather. In 1977, at 12 years old, Stout began working with the business under the tutelage of his grandfather, Kennard Stout, working evenings and weekends to learn the profession. Stout graduated from Indiana College of Mortuary Science in 1986, and he went on to partner with Kennard and eventually purchased the business in its entirety. After the death of Kennard in 2002, Stout partnered with a plethora of locally-owned funeral homes.
Similarly, Stout became co-owner of Hasler-Stout Funeral Home in Greentown in 2003, as well as becoming co-owner of Shirley & Stout Funeral Homes in Kokomo in 2005. Five years later, Stout, alongside Bill Shirley, opened Howard County’s first crematory, S & S Crematory Services. The pair also opened the county’s only pet cremation service, Paws @ Rest.
From 1989 to 1990, Stout served as deputy coroner for Howard County, before being appointed Howard County Coroner in 1991. He served two more terms as coroner, from 1991 to 2000. Stout served as a deputy coroner until his death.
At the time of his death, Stout was serving his final year in his fifth term as an at-large councilman in the Howard County council, serving in the role since 2001. He announced a bid for his sixth term earlier in the year. Stout was the top vote-getter in his elections, garnering 29.16 percent of the votes during his last election campaign in 2016.
The projects Stout supported during his tenure as councilman were numerous. Most notably, his public support for Kokomo’s YMCA construction in 2016, alongside the Nickel Plate Trail extensions, were shining examples of projects he saw come to fruition during his time serving on the council.
Under Stout’s leadership, the county flourished, both in significant and small ways, though both left a lasting impression of a man who always had everyone’s best interests at the forefront of his deeds.