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Thomas “Tom” Steed Trout died at his home in the South Toe Community of Yancey County, North Carolina on Tuesday, July 30, 2019. He was 71. A native of Findlay, Ohio, Tom was the oldest son of the late Thomas James Trout and Mary Jean Schlosser Trout.
In 1974, Tom moved to the South Toe River Valley of North Carolina where he began his career as a mason, specializing in European-style, wood-fired masonry heaters. A founding member of the Masonry Heater Association of North America and renowned for his skill and artistry, Tom often traveled to Europe and Japan to build stoves and pizza ovens, and to lead workshops. Though he designed and constructed many fireplaces and chimneys for customers across western North Carolina and the U.S., the ones Tom built for his friends and family in the South Toe Community are his most important, not only for the warmth they’ll continue to provide, but for the stories and memories they’ll forever inspire.
Naturally outgoing, Tom never met a stranger. He coached many youth sports teams, hosted pizza parties at his Heater House and the Celo Community Center, and enjoyed cooking, yoga, live music and traveling with his family. In recent years, Tom developed a passion for pétanque, a French lawn bowling game, that he played with close friends at his home on Sunday afternoons.
Tom attended Bowling Green University in Ohio, where he met his wife Brenda Phetteplace. A veteran of the Vietnam War, he was also a member of Veterans for Peace, a global organization comprised of military veterans working to create a culture of peace throughout the world. In 2016 and 2017, Tom participated in Sam’s Ride for Peace, a 350-mile bike ride from Raleigh, North Carolina to Washington D.C. advocating for the end of war and violent conflict. Other endeavors of peace included a 2017 sailboat trip on the west coast of the U.S. and multiple returns to Vietnam.
Tom was preceded in death by his youngest brother, Peter Trout. Surviving are his loving wife of 44 years, Brenda Lee Phetteplace; son, Gus Trout of Winston-Salem, North Carolina; daughter, Zoe Trout and husband Jacob Biba, of Asheville, North Carolina; grandson, Theodore “Iggy” Biba, of Asheville; brother, Duncan Trout, of New Taipei City, Taiwan; and two sisters-inlaw.
A pizza party with live music and pétanque games celebrating Tom’s life will be held at a later date.
Memorial donations may be made to Veterans for Peace at 1404 North Broadway, St. Louis, MO, 63102.