JOPLIN, Mo. —
Tom Trout, age 72, died at his home on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013, after a brief battle with cancer.
He is survived by his wife, Carolyn, of the home; his brother, Larry, of Prairie Village, Kan.; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Tom was born in Lancaster, Ohio, on March 7, 1941, to Robert and Marie Trout. He grew up in Newark, Ohio, where he was heavily involved in Boy Scouts, earning his Eagle when he was 16. He enrolled in Miami of Ohio for his freshman year in college, but he transferred to the University of Kansas for his sophomore year when his father was transferred to Kansas City. Tom took a year off from KU to travel the western and southern United States as part of a doodlebug crew, which was an oil exploration unit for Chevron Oil. He then returned to Lawrence to finish his university degree in geophysics.
The first year after graduation, he signed on with a research project managed by Maurice Ewing and Marcus Langseth of Lamont Geological Observatory in Palisades, N.Y., which was a part of Columbia University. Ewing and Langseth were working to prove the theory of plate tectonics, more commonly known as continental drift. Tom spent a year at sea on the Research Vessel Vema, doing experiments and taking core samples from the ocean floor in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Tom was always proud that his work helped to prove the theory that is now taught as fact in schools.
He returned to KU in January 1966 to begin work toward his master's degree in geophysics, returning to the RV Vema over the next summer to take core samples along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. When he returned to land, he transferred to the graduate program at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, which had a strong emphasis on oceanographic geophysics, but by this time he had met Carolyn Graber and decided he did not want to spend half of every year at sea. He returned to Lawrence, and he and Carolyn were married in June 1967.
Tom hired on with Hercules, Inc., which operated the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant in De Soto, Kan. He worked in the ballistics lab. He remained with this company for the rest of his working life, through mergers and acquisitions, ending up as an employee of Dyno-Nobel, Inc. From the Sunflower plant, he was transferred to the Kenvil Works, in Kenvil, N.J., and from there to Parlin, N.J.
A transfer in 1979 brought him to the Hercules Dynamite Plant in Carthage, Mo., from which he was moved to the Bessemer, Ala., plant as assistant manager, and then on the Donora, Pa. plant as manager. In 1987, he was transferred back to the Carthage plant, this time as manager, a position he held until his retirement in 2001.
During his years in Carthage, he served on the International Society of Explosives Engineers, which held regular meetings in Washington D.C., but the most interesting part of being in this organization involved fielding calls from all over the U.S. from people, including small town law enforcement officials, who wanted to know what to do with explosives they found while investigating crime scenes or cleaning out a relative's barn or attic.
Tom was a serial hobbyist. He shot competitive trap for 30 years, then took up fishing with serious intent. However, after his retirement, he took up golf with a passion that remained unabated until his death. He also spent countless hours in his wood shop, building intricate inlaid wood boxes and tables.
There will be a memorial service at Mason-Woodard Mortuary at 2 p.m., on Saturday, Aug. 31, followed by an open house at the Trout home to which all of his friends, family and neighbors are invited.
In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations be made to the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity in care of the funeral home.
Online condolences may be made at www.masonwoodard.com