Livestock Auction

Howard County Fair Queen Marlee Thomas kisses Jeff Stout after Stout won the fair queen kiss bid during the Livestock Auction on Thursday, July 14, 2016.

On Sept. 28, 2012, the remains of Marine Sgt. Bradley Atwell – the last of nine area service members who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks – came home to Kokomo.

Among those welcoming Atwell’s return was Jeff Stout. A funeral, planned by the good folks at Shirley & Stout Funeral Homes, was held at Chapel Hill Christian Church on Alto Road the next morning.

Jeff was there. And as he did at thousands of funerals he’d helped arrange or conduct over his long career as a funeral director, he greeted mourners with that smile of his.

The one we remember our mothers giving us on our first day of kindergarten. The one that said: “Don’t be afraid. Everything is going to be OK.”

Friday is Valentine’s Day, and we can’t think of a more appropriate date to say goodbye to the one person who showed us love and compassion when we needed it most.

Jeff Stout died Friday from complications of a massive stroke he had suffered earlier in the week. He was 55 years old.

In addition to the six funeral homes he and his partners ran, Jeff was a current county councilman and a former county coroner, volunteer firefighter and ambulance attendant. In January 2019, he and his wife Tami had purchased Kokomo’s Cone Palace – a favorite restaurant and mandatory stop for Hoosier Gov. Eric Holcomb.

“Janet and I were so saddened to hear the news about Jeff’s passing,” the governor shared with us Friday. “I can’t think of another Hoosier who helped more neighbors make it through their own times of struggle than this man.”

Jeff Stout’s viewing will be 2-8 p.m. Thursday at Crossroads Community Church, the corner of Indiana 26 and Indiana 931. The church will host his funeral at noon Friday.

Funerals are earnest, sacred and beautiful. They’re a time for family, friends and community to grieve their loss, celebrate a life and thank God for arranging our relationships with loved ones.

The Howard County community this week will celebrate the life of one of our most loved and loving residents.

We’ll remember Jeff, and we’ll remember that smile. The one we remember our fathers giving us when we finally left home to start our own lives.

The one that said: “I love you. Everything will be OK.”

Kokomo Tribune editorial board

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