BENJAMIN STOUT III

Benjamin Mortimer Stout III, 60, passed away August 3, 2018, at his home in Wheeling, WV, surrounded by his family.

Ben was a life-long resident of West Virginia, born in Morgantown in 1957 to Ann Louise Savage Stout and the late Benjamin Mortimer Stout Jr. MD.

Ben was a 17th generation immigrant, descended from Richard Stout (c. 1615-1705, Nottinghamshire, England), who fled religious persecution, and Penelope van Princis Stout (c. 1622- 1732, Amsterdam). Penelope was shipwrecked off Sandy Hook, New Jersey, maimed and left for dead, then nursed back to life by “her Indian father” and gifted to Dutch settlers at New Amsterdam, NJ. There she had 13 children, including a Benjamin.

In the late 1700’s some of Ben’s ancestors migrated to the Hacker’s Creek Settlement on the frontier of Western Virginia.

Ben graduated from Morgantown High School (1975), West Virginia University (BS in agriculture and Forestry, 1980), and Tennessee Tech University (MS in biology, 1982). Prior to obtaining his PhD in biology from Virginia Tech (1990), Ben taught at Southern West Virginia Community College in Williamson and Logan.

He would later return to those communities to testify in Federal Court on behalf of citizens arguing that valley fills stemming from mountaintop removal mining operations were a violation of the Clean Water Act. That 1999 testimony, a life changing experience for Ben, was followed by presentations on “The Ecological Consequences of Valley Fills” at national scientific meetings and for over 50 audiences ranging from grass-roots organizations to major universities.

Ben conducted applied research that helped precipitate the creation of the Nation’s 500th National Wildlife Refuge in Canaan Valley, WV, did a study of coal slurry impacts on well water that led to 500 West Virginia families being connected to a municipal water supply at Williamson, and performed studies of longwall mining impacts on streams in northern West Virginia and south western Pennsylvania. His environmental research, scientific publications, and testimony led to policy changes at the national level.

Ben was named Environmental Steward by the North American Benthological Society in 2007. In 2013, he received the “Don Gasper Science in the Public Interests Award” by the West Virginia Environmental Council, was named one of 25 “Visionaries” by Appalachian Voices, and was inducted in the first class of Fellows of the Society of Freshwater Science in 2017.

Ben was a professor of biology at Wheeling Jesuit University, where he taught and conducted research for 26 years. Ben’s career-long goal had been to “bring the voice of science to the people.”

Ben was active in many community and environmental projects, including working with the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy. He was proud of his West Virginia roots. He especially enjoyed camping, hunting and fishing in the West Virginia mountains and at the Sinks of Gandy.

Ben is survived by his mother, Ann Savage Stout Walters. and step-father, Richard Walters of Morgantown; three sons, Benjamin IV of Charlotte, NC, Robert of Asheville, NC, and PFC 1st Class William of Clover, SC, and their mother, Kathy Kyle Stout of Clover, SC. Also surviving are brothers, James Stout of Morgantown, and Robert Stout and wife, Jodie of Saltsburg, PA; sister, Nancy Stout of Morgantown; stepbrothers, Craig Walters and wife, Brenda of Reedsville, WV, and Marc Walters of Buckhannon, WV; and stepsister, Beth Walters of Raleigh, NC.

He was preceded in death by his father, Dr. Benjamin M. Stout Jr.

The family is honoring Ben’s wishes for no funeral service.

A celebration of life will be held at a later date.