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Robert D. Stout

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BENNINGTON -- Robert D. Stout, 78, a well-known resident of Eastview Drive, Bennington and former chief executive officer of Putnam Memorial Health Corp., died Thursday, June 17, 2004 at Centers for Living and Rehabilitation following a long illness.

Born in Flemington, W.Va. June 11, 1926, he was the son of the late Rezin Dever Stout, M.D. and Mary Elizabeth (Smith) Stout. He received his early education in the Grafton, W.Va. schools and was a 1944 graduate of Grafton High School. Mr. Stout received his Bachelor of Science degree from West Virginia University in 1946 and his Master of Economics degree in 1948. In 1950 he received his master’s in hospital administration from Columbia University in New York City.

Mr. Stout married the former Laila Lingamfelter in Martinsburg, W.Va. on June 10, 1950.

He began his career in health care in 1950 as a resident administrator at the University of Maryland Hospital in Baltimore, Md. In 1951, he left the hospital to enlist in the United States Army during the Korean Conflict where he attained the rank of first lieutenant. He returned to Maryland in 1953 to accept a position as assistant hospital administrator at Lutheran Hospital in Baltimore where he remained until 1956 when the family moved to Schenectady, N.Y. where Mr. Stout served as assistant administrator at Ellis Hospital.

In 1961, Mr. Stout was named the CEO of Putnam Memorial Hospital in Bennington and began a 30-year association with the local health care system. As CEO he oversaw many changes at Putnam including the construction of a new fourth-floor addition in 1967, the west wing addition in 1974 and the construction of the medical office building in 1977. In 1983, Mr. Stout was recognized by the Putnam Board of Trustees as being “instrumental in the growth and development of Putnam as one of the outstanding community hospitals in the country.” In 1984, he oversaw the restructuring of the hospital corporation under the umbrella of Putnam Memorial Health Corporation which included Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, Putnam Healthcare Auxiliary, Mount Anthony Housing Corp. and Putnam Building Management Corp. A year later, Weston Hadden Convalescent Center opened on the hospital grounds.

In 1987, Robert Stout stepped down as chief executive officer of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center but continued to serve as CEO of PMHC until his retirement in 1991. He served two terms as a trustee of American Hospital Association, was a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and was a past president of the New England Hospital Assembly. Mr. Stout was highly respected and viewed by other health care executives throughout the country as a leader in the profession of health care administration.

An active member of St. Peters Episcopal Church for many years, Mr. Stout formerly served as a member of the vestry and as an usher. He was a past chair of the board of trustees of Southern Vermont College where he helped establish the registered nursing program. A trustee at the college for many years, Mr. Stout was presented an Honorary Doctorate of Laws degree by the college in May 1992 and was also awarded the Trustee Merit Award.

During his many years in public service, Mr. Stout was instrumental in the formation of the Bennington Rescue Squad in 1963, was a past president of Bennington Rotary Club, active in the Dollars for Scholars campaign, a board member of the Cooper-Kelly Fund, the United Way Board, a member of the Chittenden Trust Co. board, the American Red Cross board, the Central Vermont Public Service Corp. board, the former YMCA board and several other local community organizations.

Mr. and Mrs. Stout enjoyed collecting Victorian art glass. Also, together with his late son-in-law, William Thomson, Mr. Stout was the proud owner of a 1910 Maxwell that he had entered in the Bennington Antique Car Show several times.

Survivors include his wife Laila Stout of Bennington; a daughter, Lucinda “Cindy” Thomson of Bennington; a son, Robert D. Stout II and his wife Stella of Stafford Springs, Conn.; four grandchildren, Gareth Thomson and his wife Tracey of Hoosick Falls, N.Y., Brooke, Alex and Amanda (Bea) Thomson, all of Bennington; several nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to his son-in-law Mr. Stout was predeceased by a sister, Virginia Sullivan.

The funeral will be held from St. Peters Episcopal Church in Bennington on Monday, June 21, 2004 at 11 a.m. where the burial office will be offered by the Rev. Canon Robert Miner, interim pastor, and the Rev. Penny Hawkins, deacon.

Friends may call at the Mahar & Son Funeral Home Saturday from 6 to 8 p.m. when the family will be in attendance.

Burial will take place in the family lot in Simpson Cemetery, Simpson, W.Va. where private committal services will be held Friday, June 25, 2004.

Should friends desire contributions in Robert D. Stout’s memory may be made to either the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center or Dollars For Scholars through the office of the Mahar & Son Funeral Home, 628 Main St., Bennington, VT 05201.
Published in Bennington Banner on June 18, 2004
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