Lawrence Stout

2012-10-25T00:00:00Z Lawrence Stout pantagraph.com
October 25, 2012 12:00 am

NORMAL — Lawrence Neff Stout, 64, Normal, died peacefully Friday (Oct. 19, 2012) in the company of loved ones at his home in Normal, after a 15-month struggle with lung cancer.

A Quaker memorial service will be Nov. 3 at the Mennonite Church of Normal, with gathering and fellowship at 10 a.m. and memorial meeting for worship at 11 a.m., followed by a potluck meal. The family requests no flowers or plants; instead, memorial donations may be made to Illinois Wesleyan University for the Lawrence Neff Stout Scholarship for Excellence in Mathematics, The Illinois Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends, or your favorite folk music and dance nonprofit organization.

Larry was born May 2, 1948, in Indianapolis, Ind., son of Daniel Washington and Margaret Louise Johnston Stout. He excelled at mathematics from an early age and graduated as a National Merit Scholar from Broad Ripple High School in 1966. He graduated from the University of Chicago in 1970, and completed a doctorate in mathematics at the University of Illinois in 1974.

While on a post-doctoral fellowship at McGill University, he met Susan Meredith Burt. After Larry and Susan realized they were seeing each other at both Quaker meeting and Scottish Country Dancing, the courtship progressed quickly. They were married on June 12, 1976, at the Quaker Meetinghouse in Montreal, Quebec.

Larry taught mathematics at Illinois Wesleyan University for 34 years, rising to the rank of full professor. In addition to teaching generations of students, he wrote a textbook on linear algebra and served on numerous university committees. In 2012, he was awarded the second annual James Dougan Award for Faculty Governance. He taught a vast array of mathematics courses, but his research was primarily in category theory (an abstract field of study that touches on the philosophy and foundations of mathematics) and its applications to nonclassical and fuzzy logics.

Larry began playing the fiddle as a child, and loved folk music and dance for nearly as long as he loved mathematics. He was a founding member of the Flatland Consort, a Central Illinois band that plays English country dance music, and he played Irish and Scottish tunes at weekly sessions in town. He also collected and played a number of other instruments: concertina, viola d’amore, mandolin and penny whistle. Larry and Susan attended folk dance events and enjoyed English, Scottish, contra dancing and waltzing. Larry also enjoyed woodworking, and made musical instruments, furniture and toys. He was also an avid gardener and cook.

Larry was a man of deeply held values. Recognized during the Vietnam War as a conscientious objector, he was a leader in the Bloomington-Normal Quaker Meeting and the Illinois Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. He was active with Bloomington-Normal Citizens for Peace and Justice, and worked to end the death penalty in Illinois.

Larry was a devoted father to his sons Andrew and Alan, and was delighted to meet his new grandson, Alan’s son, Sam.

Larry is survived by his wife, Susan Meredith Burt; his sons, Andrew Paul Burt Stout, Cambridge, Mass., and Alan Benjamin Burt Stout, Bloomington; his mother, Margaret Louise Johnston Thomas, Ithaca, N.Y.; his sister, Suzanne Louise Gould, New Britain, Conn.; and one grandson, Samuel Eugene Stout.

Full obituary and further information is available at the website www.larrysnetwork.org. Calvert & Metzler Memorial Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

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