Longtime State Sen. J. Barry Stout dies at age 79
Lisa Stout-Bashioum said her father was devoted to his family in every way. But J. Barry Stout also was devoted to serving the people of Southwestern Pennsylvania that he represented for four decades, first as a member of the state house, and then as a state senator with the lofty position as Democratic chairman of the transportation committee.Stout died at his Bentleyville home Saturday evening at the age of 79.“He was devoted to his family in every way,” Stout-Bashioum said Sunday. “But he also was devoted to the people he represented.”“It was his life mission to do as much as he could,” she added. “He was totally committed to doing the best he could.“Stout was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1971, serving until 1976. He then ran for senate, serving from 1977 until his retirement in 2010. It was a freshman representative that he was assigned to the House Transportation Committee in 1971. He became the Democratic chairman of Senate Transportation Committee in the mid 1980s. He was well known for his extensive work on transportation projects in Southwestern Pennsylvania, whether it was major repairs or replacing a bridge.Charles Crouse was Stout’s aide during his 33-year career in the senate. Crouse said Stout who was instrumental in making the deal that enabled Washington County to purchase 600 acres of unused Western Center property at $1,200 an acre from the state for the beginning of what is now Southpointe.Stout-Bashioum said her father was extremely proud of the development Southpointe had become even after he retired.“He was so proud of that and how it has been such a great benefit not only for Washington County but the area,” she said.And he loved transportation.Crouse said Stout was proud of his efforts in getting the legislation through for the Mon-Fayette Expressway and Southern Beltway. His daughter said those were both sources of pride and joy for her father.“He was chairman of the transportation committee for many years,” Crouse said. “He was a hard worker and he expected every member of his staff to work just as hard.“Crouse said his former boss treated everyone civilly and with respect, whether they were political opponents or constituents.“He often told me ‘Charles, I never try to build myself up by tearing others down,’” Crouse said. “Those words should resonate in today’s political climate. He was a good guy, a good person. He really was.“Larry Maggi, chairman of Washington County board of commissioners, said he knew Stout since he was a boy as his family and Stout were friends. Stout and Maggi are both natives of the Claysville area.“He is Washington County economic development,” Maggi said. “All good things going on in this county today can be traced back to Barry. From gaming to Southpointe I and II, Barry’s influence is reaching out to generations. He will be missed.“Maggi said Stout could reach across party lines to get things accomplished.“He always had a steady, even temperament,” Maggi said “He got things done. If anyone needed anything, you knew to go to Barry And he tried to help everyone, no matter who they were or their socioeconomic status.“Tim Solobay worked with Stout, first during his 16 years in the state house representing the district that included both Canonsburg and Bentleyville. He then was elected to Stout’s senate seat representing the 46th district when Stout decided to retire at the end of his term in 2010.“He worked very hard,” Solobay said. “And he knew transportation from A to Z.“Solobay said the two worked closely on bringing the casino and gaming into the area, which included work on the plan to distribute money from the local shares account. Stout often referred to the that money as “manna from heaven.” Solobay said Washington County has one of the best plans in the state for distribution of the money that comes from gaming, making sure it gets to a variety of projects.“He was a mentor to me,” Solobay said. “Anytime I had a question, he had a good answer for me. I would talk with him even after he retired.”“He was an all-around good guy,” he added. “I respected him very much and he was a good guy to work with.“Friends are being received from 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday in the Thompson-Marodi Funeral Home, Inc., 809 Main St., Bentleyville. Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday in First Presbyterian Church, 812 Main St., Bentleyville.