Claude "Coach" Stoutamire, born in 1924 and member of the 4th generation Leon County pioneer family, died October 7, 2013. He graduated from Leon High School where he was a standout in basketball and track, holding the state records for many years in the high jump. After high school, he joined the Army and left for basic training at Camp Blanding on June 24, 1943. He served proudly until his honorable discharge in 1946. His service to his country was one of his proudest accomplishments.
After his discharge in 1946, instead of returning to play basketball for the University of Florida, he chose to play for Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. While there he was a standout player on the court and participated in one of the first true national tournaments held for intercollegiate basketball. He was the leading scorer on the team three years and also made honorable mention All American. He also lettered four years in track and holds the conference high jump record at 6'4". Due to his prowess on the basketball court and track, he was inducted into the Northwestern State University Hall of Fame in 1980. He graduated with a degree in Education in 1950 and then completed his Masters in Education from Stephen F. Austin State University. However, he was not done playing basketball, playing as a member of the two time US American Legion Basketball National Championship team.
After college, he returned home to Tallahassee to teach and coach at Leon High School. He is best known as the beloved head basketball coach from 1951-1973 and in the first five years he produced two conference championships. He was also a fearless drivers education teacher and loveably tormented P.E. teacher. As an active part of the Big Bend community, he was a founding member of the Soapstone Hunting Club of Gadsden County.
He leaves behind his loving wife of 62 years, Barbara (née Richter) of Tallahassee; children, Barbara, Ric (and wife, Becky) and Chris, all of Monticello; grandchildren, John, Tori, Alex, Casey, and Jeff and their families; and his great grandchild "Muff" Mary Catherine. A well know animal lover, he also leaves behind his beloved dogs, goats, chickens, turkeys, horses, and deer.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Big Bend Hospice of Jefferson County or Big Bend Hospice House. (1723 Mahan Center Blvd., Tallahassee, FL 32308)
A service will be held on Tuesday, October 15th at 2:00pm at Culley's Chapel on Riggins Road.