A Life Lived: Herman Stout known for his fiddle playing
Published 2:23 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2023
It’s been said “The older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune…”
Herman Stout could play some sweet tunes with his fiddle, and through the years had played in several bluegrass bands as well as at church. Lisa Stout said her father was self-taught and could play anything with strings, however his favorite instrument to play was the fiddle.
And, Stout performed the music for his funeral – a recording of him playing “Amazing Grace” on the fiddle.
Herman Stout was one of 12 children, and he and his wife had eight children. He was the last of his siblings to die.
Herman lived in Stout Hollow, which was named for his family.
He was married in 1955 to Beulah “Ellen” Whitehead, who preceded him in death. He had never gone to church until after he married and went to Union Baptist Church. “He was saved on March 30, 1966, and was a dedicated Christian after that,” said Lisa. He later attended Braemar Baptist Church, which he helped organize and was the choir leader for 30 years. “He loved music and could play anything,” said a granddaughter, Jodi Lacy.
Just about everything Stout did, he did well. He enjoyed coon hunting. Sometimes, he went with friends, other times he went alone. He sold the hides of the coons he killed. He would stretch them and attach them to the side of his smokehouse to cure. “Often the entire side of the smokehouse would be covered with coonskins,” said Lisa.
Stout also enjoyed plowing with his workhorse, and each year plowed the family garden. Lisa said her grandfather, John Whitehead, always claimed that Stout could plow the straightest row he had ever seen. “He did the plowing and Mama tended the garden,” said Lisa.
In addition to his workhorse, Stout enjoyed having hogs and killing them in the fall for a winter’s supply of meat. He also grew a crop of tobacco each year.
“He could do just about anything he set his mind to,” his daughter shared.
In his early days he worked for a short period of time at Click Construction Co., but later went to work at North American Rayon Corporation, from which he retired.
Stout enjoyed time with his family, especially mealtimes. His favorite thing to eat was cornbread. “He always said Mama was a good cook, but was second to her mother, Bessie Whitehead, who was the best,” said Lisa. “He liked cornbread, but he liked most everything you put on the table.”
He and his wife were married 67 years when she passed in 2022.
In the end, Stout suffered from dementia, but he never did lose his love for music. Stout died Sept. 14 at the age of 86, but there will always be memories of the man, who made sweet music, and perhaps it’s true, that the older the fiddler, the sweeter the tune.