History of the Restoration Movement

Ralph Dare Stout


Biographical Sketch Of The Late Ralph Stout

Ralph Stout, his wife Martha, and son Tony came to Grant Street at the right time. From the beginning, it was a perfect match. The Grant Street congregation was ready and about to receive the best of times in its history.

Ralph attended Freed-Hardeman College and worked with congregations in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Alabama. From video files in 2007, Ralph's words are as follows: "My claim to fame is expressed in having preached at Grant Street for a period of 25 years. I was born in 1926 in Louisville, Kentucky which is three years before the fall of the stock market and I grew up during the depression years. I graduated from high school in 1943. That same year I enlisted in the Navy. That was during World War II, consequently the period was for the duration plus six months which happened to work out for me to be 2 ½ years. Two of those years I spent on a destroyer in the Pacific. I was discharged in 1946 and at the encouragement of some friends, I started an apprenticeship making false teeth. I did not like that too well so I decided to enroll at Freed-Hardeman College and take a pre-pharmacy course. In 1948 I married Martha Love and she has been my love ever since. We went together to Freed-Hardeman and I changed my mind again and decided I would take a course for preachers, which was something my parents had wanted me to do all my life. I graduated in 1949 and  took the extra course offered for preachers. In 1950, I moved to my first work in Centerville, Tennessee. I was there for a period of seven years after which I moved to the Valdosta congregation in Tuscumbia, Alabama. From there, I went to Glasgow, Kentucky where I stayed for six years. My next move was to Grant Street in Decatur, Alabama. I remained there for 25 years.

"While considering Grant Street and the possibility of moving there, I was very impressed. I know that numbers don't mean everything but they are indicators. For instance, the congregation at Glasgow had an attendance of over 500 people and their contribution was about $1,000.00 per week – that was in 1960. When I came to Grant Street in 1966, the attendance was about 200 and they had a weekly contribution of $1,000.00 per week.

"I was impressed with the elders of the church - the way that they approached me, the way that they handled the affairs of the church. It would be difficult to find a set of elders better qualified than they were.

We grew. The people accepted me as their preacher and we grew. In fact, we grew from somewhere around 200 people to over 400 in attendance in the decade of the 1970s. Then we experienced a decline in the 1980s. It seemed to level off near the end of 1980. When I retired in 1991, in that year and the year before we averaged over 300 in worship and 200 in Bible Study.

The people at Grant Street have always been liberal to a fault. The contribution that was $1,000.00 in 1966 increased to more than $5,000.00 when I retired in 1991. Since my retirement, within the next ten years it doubled that amount.

In the period of 25 years the church had a major renovation of the building on two different occasions. The building was built in 1925 under the design of a man named Winkler who I understand was a member of the church. He also designed the church building in Glasgow, Kentucky, where I preached before coming to Grant Street. The buildings are entirely different in structure but both are beautiful.

During Brother Underwood's second appointment at Grant Street, the education wing was added to the north side of the building. This was followed by the two renovations. It is one of the most beautiful edifices to be found among churches of Christ.

I have been retired for 22 years; I still preach some. I worked with a congregation in Lawrence County teaching a Bible class and preaching occasionally. The fact of the matter is I want to preach a little bit in closing. That is, Brevity is the essence of sincerity."

During Ralph's 25 years of ministry at Grant Street, there were a number of successful gospel meetings. Men, sound in the faith, were selected for each meeting - In some cases the meetings would occur both morning and evening. The further we go back in the history of Jackson Street/Grant Street, the larger the attendance -  especially at the evening service. The following gospel preachers led these meetings: C. E. McGaughy, W.A. Bradfield, George DeHoff (2), Akio Limb, Charles Chumley, Guy N. Woods, V.P. Black (2), Robert Hampton, Paul Brown (2), H.A. Fincher, Willard Collins, Foy E. Wallace, Fred Mosley, Wilson Wallace, Dan Owen, and Earl Edwards.

-Charles Riley, Decatur, Alabama

The Decatur Daily - 1991

Click On Photos For Close-up Look

Ralph D. Stout
Decatur Daily - March 7, 2013

A memorial service for Ralph D. Stout, 87, of Decatur will be held Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 11 a.m. at the Grant Street Church of Christ with David Hester officiating. Interment will be in Roselawn Cemetery. Visitation will be Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

Survivors include his son Tony Stout of Decatur; sister, Louise Jarrett of Louisville, Kentucky; and niece Anita Isenberg (Danny) of Louisville, Kentucky.

Memorials may be made to Hospice of the Valley or Grant Street Church of Christ.

The following comments were written in the Guest Book:

*Tony, your parents and mine were great friends. When your father guest spoke for a summer in Pulaski, Tennessee at East Hills Church of Christ, Elise, Martha, Duane and Ralph became the best of friends. Your mom and dad will forever live in our hearts! Jan Rost

*One of the finest people I have ever known. He will be truly missed as is his dear Martha. The last thing he said to me was, "I am just waiting until time to go and be with Martha." His wish came true now… God bless them both. Dot Neher

*Tony, we are so sorry to hear of the loss of your father. You are fortunate to have had him for so long. Please feel free to visit us in Shreveport if the situation presents itself. You are in our thoughts and prayers. May God bless you. Rufus and Bettie Underwood

*Brother Stout was always so kind. Always ready to say hello. Although I never heard him preach, I always enjoyed his prayers and devotional thoughts. He had such a wealth of information that it was almost impossible not to learn something new each time he spoke. He will be greatly missed. It was an honor to know him. Becky Ellis

*Ralph was a wonderful man and a true friend. He will be greatly missed. In Christian love, Al and Patsy Poole

*I have wonderful memories of talking to brother Stout from the first time we met in 1990 at my office. He would stop by for no reason but to visit a while. Brother Stout is one of the finest Christians that I have ever met and will be missed by many. Peggy B. Flynt

*Ralph married us, buried us, sat with us, prayed with us, sang with us, and was a rock always for the Jolly family. So thrilled he is with our Lord, and Martha! I love you Tony. Cathy Armstrong

*Tony, I'm so sorry for your loss. Your dad was one of the most kind, loving, and God-fearing men I have ever known! I loved Mr. Ralph with all my heart for so long as I can remember! He was the man who baptized me at a young age and has always had a genuine interest in what I was doing throughout my life. He will be missed by all who knew him! Laura Weatherspoon Pannell

*So sorry to hear about Brother Ralph passing away, the family has my thoughts and prayers during this time of loss. May God bless and comfort you.

Larry Shipley - *He was a congenial gentleman. Stephen Armstrong

Memorial Services - Ralph D. Stout
Grant Street Church of Christ - Decatur, Alabama - March 9, 2013

Tony Stout - Son

I found a couple of additives that I thought would be sufficient for Daddy. Mark Twain once said, "Few sinners are saved after the first 20 minutes of a sermon." All of us know that he never spoke more than 20 minutes. If he visited you in the hospital, his visit never lasted more than five minutes. But whatever he said in those five minutes meant a whole lot. He was like E.F. Hutton.

Another one is, "Preaching is the expression or moral sentiment applied to the duties of life" written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. I believe that really embodies the life of Ralph Stout. His preaching voice was an expession of his moral sentiments in the world and he applied it to his life.

When he spoke to you, he always told you the truth. He never lied! He always told you exactly what he thought and he always told the truth. He would never lie to me and I really appreciated that.

I really want to thank you for being here today. Thank you, Dr. Steve Chandler. I could speak about Steve for a long time. He has put up with my Dad for years. The last time we were in his office, Daddy was giving him a hard time because he was still alive. He thought Steve was trying to cure him and that was not what he wanted.

I thank you, Hospice of the Valley. I know that many of you in this audience have been supported by this wonderful group of caring people. They really care and make life's struggles much easier. Each one of the nurses was very, very nice!

I got a note from an old friend, Mark Patterson. Many of you know him. He told me, "Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you." I think my father did that very much. You may know not know him but he would speak to you on the street. He would be your friend for life.

Charles Riley - A Friend
I have written a poem for this memorial service. I will share it with you.

Take Me Lord - I Want To Go

I have come to the end of the road,
And the sun has set for me.
I want no service in a gloom filled room,
Why cry for a soul set free.
I leave not with my head bowed low,
Because I remember Martha's love.
It's been so long, long ago,
Take me Lord - I want to go.

This is a journey we must all take,
And each must go alone.
It's all part of my Lord's plan,
A step on the road to home.
I'm very lonely and sick of heart,
Since Martha and I have been apart.
It's been so long, long ago,
Take me Lord - I want to go.

Let us all pray.

Our God and Father who art in heaven, you have told us - "to everything there is a season, a time for everything under the sun, a time to live and a time to die, a time to laugh and a time to cry" -  we know that all time belongs to you.

But today is a time to remember - to remember one who gave so much to so many. Now is a time to remember the bond that ties all of us together - love.  To remember a man who has been a part of our lives for more than 50 years.

We thank thee for sharing Ralph with us. A small man in life but he was a giant standing behind this very pulpit. For 25 years he spoke your Word with power and dignity. We look into our rear view mirror and we see one who has given so much to each one of us over the days, months, and years. He gave to us his two most precious gifts - love and time. He loved us and he shared himself with us. The happiness we shared and the memories that are - they do not die; they live as a gift from thee that will never be lost.

Today is a time to say "thank you God" for giving us Ralph who taught us how to live, and who taught us how to die.

And now is the time, for us to pray for you to help us to always keep our eye on heaven for the best is yet to come if we live by faith.
In the name of Christ we pray, Amen and amen.

David Hester - Minister and Friend (Springville Church of Christ Birmingham, Alabama)

Ralph Stout was born January15, 1926 in Kentucky and passed from this life on March 4, 2013 at his residence in Decatur, Alabama
He served in World War II in the Navy. He was the minister at the Grant Street Church of Christ for 25 years. He was preceded in death by his wife of 57 years, Martha. He is survived by his son, Tony of Decatur; sister Louise Jarrett of Louisville, Kentucky; niece, Anita Isenberg (Danny) of Louisville, Kentucky; and a host of brethren, family, and friends.

In 1999, I guess, Ralph asked me, "Would you be willing to preach my funeral when I die?" And I said, "It would be an honor." Ralph gave so much to so many people and a tremendous amount for us in all things. Louise wrote a poem that was on display last night and I asked permission to read this because I believe this really summarizes things about Ralph. It says:

Just sitting here waiting, waiting for the Lord,
To go to a better place, for him to wait is very hard.
He had rather be busy taking care of things,
With the satisfaction that doing always brings.
He was born in 26, his mother and dad were so proud,
They had prayed for a preacher man to teach an unbelieving crowd.
Their prayers were certainly answered,
And Freed-Hardeman was the plan
To go on the GI Bill to run the Christian race,
Much good was done through the years
People loved him in the south,
We will miss him and his ways,
He was my little brother Ralph.

Touching words and very appropriate words indeed.

So many of us gathered here today have lost our preacher. Those young ladies who grew up under Ralph's preaching were all Ralph's girls. Ralph had a major influence on countless lives. He is responsible for souls populating heaven. Twenty five years ago, almost, my future wife and I stood in this very auditorium while Ralph and my dad preached our wedding. We buried my dad January 7 and we are here together about Ralph. Ralph lived a long full life. His legacy is long-lasting. It is my conviction that one word can describe Ralph Stout and that word is simply "faithful." In the spirit of Ralph's preaching I'm going to keep it at 20 minutes.

Ralph, in the first place, was a faithful friend. In Proverbs 17:17 the wise man said, "A friend loveth at all times and a brother is born of adversity." If Ralph Stout was your friend, he was your friend for life. He was there for so many of us. He was there during the good times and the bad times. In Proverbs 18:24 we read, "A man that hath friends must show himself a friend." This perfectly describes Ralph. He definitely showed himself to be friendly. If you wondered where Ralph was in this auditorium, all you had to do was listen for the laughter. Ralph laughed; you knew exactly where he was.

He took the time to talk to everyone. He was genuinely interested in their lives. He had interests that helped bring in even more friends—golf—legendary! He was a legendary golfer. Maybe not to the pros that played on the PGA tour but those who played with him know what I am talking about.

The automobile: Ralph was known for keeping his car immaculate. There was one picture that I saw last night in the booklet of pictures that was on display and it was Ralph in front of one of those cars he had and he was dressed all in white. That is not surprising because of the way he kept his cars so clean and so well.

Ralph was also known for testing the speed of his cars. I held a meeting at Aldridge Gove several years back when he was working with that congregation part time. Ralph had just bought a new sports car. On Sunday afternoon he asked my two sons, Will and Jonathan, to "come with me and let's go for a drive." They got in the car and he took Will and Jonathan for a ride out in the country. While he was driving the sports car, he told them that he would always try to see how fast his cars would go. He said. "I know all the country roads and there are no police so I just test it out." He said, "I had a car where the speedometer went up to 140 miles per hour but it was not right. The car went a lot faster than that." As he was saying those things to Will and Jonathan, the speedometer keep going up and up and up and finally he slowed it down. Ralph was known for that - he had so many friends. Ralph's life was a rich life!

Secondly, Ralph was also a faithful husband. For 57 years Ralph and Martha Stout were married. Martha was the love of his life. When Martha passed away, he was right there at her side. She left a void that Ralph longed to have fulfilled. In Ephesians 5:25-33 the apostle Paul writes, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourished and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband." Ralph took those words seriously and lived them out in his life. Ralph was faithful to Martha. He longed to be reunited with her and now has his wish.

Ralph was a faithful father. He took Ephesians 6:4 seriously, "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." He strove to be the right example and he strove to teach the right thing. He loved Tony and he wanted for him the best. Today, Tony is the reflection of the life and love of his life. Proverbs 10:1 says, "A wise son makes a glad father."

Ralph was a faithful gospel preacher. He preached the gospel for well over 50 years. He preached for four congregations - Centerville, Tennessee; Valdosta in Tuscumbia, Alabama; South Green Street in Glasgow, Kentucky; and Grant Street. He preached here for 25 years - perhaps, the best days of this congregation. When he retired from full-time work, the Decatur Daily interviewed him and the reporter asked him, "What advice would you give a young preacher who would want to stay at one congregation for a long time." Ralph did not hesitate, he said, "Don't attend elder's meetings." Ralph preached the truth. He preached the truth without fear. He preached the truth without compromise. He had one goal - save lost souls.

He took seriously the words of the apostle Paul in writing to the young preacher in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall heap to themselves teachers having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. But watch thou in all things, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." Does that sound like Ralph Stout? You had better believe it! Ralph took that charge seriously and he lived it. He did not shirk his responsibility to preach the gospel even if it meant losing friends; even if it meant that the truth would offend. Ralph preached it but he could never be accused of having the wrong motive. Ralph always loved the lost and he only wanted the best for all souls.

Hours before he passed away from this life, Ralph was still teaching. A nurse asked him some religious questions. Ralph cited book, chapter, and verse in response. He always longed to teach the truth to others. He wanted only the best for his brethren. He loved to be around gospel preachers and to help young preachers. There was not a jealous bone in that man's body. He was always good and he always wanted the best. Ralph's life and Ralph's legacy should inspire all of us to be faithful to the Lord, to do what is right, to stand for what is right, to love one another, to love our family, and above all to love the Lord.

Alan Watkins - Minister and Friend (Grant Street Church of Christ Decatur, Alabama)

There are so many things that Ralph has in common with my own father - age, ministry, signing on in the Navy at seventeen. The main thing that they have done for a long time is lead the lost to Christ

I don't know exactly how eternity works. We have talked about it, we have preached about it. I believe there is recognition. I don't know if it will be in Paradise where Ralph is right now or if it will be in the final resting place - Heaven - after judgment. Ralph will find Martha and they will have eternity together. They had heaven on earth and now they have heaven in Heaven. It doesn't get any better than that!

Let us go to our Father in prayer.

Father, we thank you so much for the many, many wonderful things you have done for us. We thank you for the blessings you gave Ralph through his 80 plus years of life. Father, we are grateful now that that Ralph had his wish. He has asked when he first learned about his terminal diagnosis to pray that he would not linger and in his mind be a burden. We are thankful that you took him home, that you sent the angels to carry his soul to Paradise a few days ago so that now he can be at rest forever. Father his death leaves a great void here in this life. As Ralph missed Martha, Tony misses his mom and his dad. We pray that you will bless him and comfort him and help him to try to the best of his ability to carry on the great legacy his mom and dad left him. We pray that you will bless him and lift him up and be his yoke fellow and, as Christ promised, help him to bear his burdens. We pray for the many friends in the community in Decatur and other places where Ralph has labored that you comfort them as well. Help folks in this loss to come closer to you. For his friends and his family, especially here at Grant Street - there are so many. Ralph was like a part of their physical family and no one could more than a part of their spiritual family. We know there are many hearts that are hurting even though those that truly knew Ralph are also rejoicing in the understanding that this was his wish. You granted him his wish by allowing him a relative quick death.

Father, help us as we go through the next few weeks and months, and though that feeling of loneliness - be with each person. We pray that Ralph may have said or done something that will be an influence, even after his passing, to someone who will either be brought to Christ or brought back to Your family. I believe that would be his prayer and that will be ours.

We offer our payer in Jesus name, Amen

Ralph & Martha Stout

Grant Street Library Plaque

Directions To The Grave of Ralph Stout

Ralph Stout is buried in Decatur, Alabama in the Roselawn Cemetery. The cemetery is located at 709 Memorial Drive Southwest, Decatur, Alabama 35601 - Phone 256-353-1602.

From Huntsville, Alabama and Nashville, Tennessee - Travel I-65 south to exit 340. Exit and cross the Tennessee River to U.S. Highway 31 (6th Avenue). Continue on Highway 31 to Moulton Street, the fourth traffic signal. Turn right (west) onto Moulton Street and proceed to Memorial Drive, the second traffic signal. Turn left (south) onto Memorial Drive and proceed to Ridout Brown Service Funeral Home, located on the right (west) side of the street. Turn right just before passing the funeral home and drive on into the cemetery.

From Birmingham, Alabama - Travel I-65 to exit 334. Exit and turn left (northwest onto highway 67 (Beltline Road. Proceed on Beltline to Danville Road (Memorial Drive). Turn right (north) onto Danville Road and continue to the Ridout Brown Service Funeral Home located on the left side (west). Turn left just past funeral home and enter the cemetery.

GPS Location of Cemetery

View Larger Map

Roselawn Cemetery Office Building

Garden of The Good Shepherd

Ralph D. Stout (January 15, 1926-March 4, 2013)
Martha Stout (December 28, 1924-October 17, 2005)

Photos Taken 04.2013
Page Produced 05.06.2013
Courtesy of Scott Harp

Special Thanks to Charles Riley of Decatur, Alabama, for providing all the information you see on this page. He was a long-time close personal friend and co-worker with Ralph Stout. He was involved in the funeral, collected all the information you see on this page, and sent it to your webeditor in May, 2013. Thank you again Charles for your love for brother Stout, and your sincere desire to produce this wonderful tribute to him.

History Home

History Index Page