Kenneth Tout, who died at the age of 98, served in World War II as a machine gunner and Sherman tank commander and devoted the rest of his life to disaster relief and helping the poor and to the elderly.
In May 1947, Tout was appointed as an army officer (minister of religion) in the Salvation Army. A number of appointments followed in Manchester, Durham and West Yorkshire, and during this time he started one of the first old people’s clubs and an experimental youth centre.
In 1954, the Salvation Army assigned him to the children’s home in Quilmes, near Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he became involved in rescue work after the River La Plata caused loss of life and the destruction of many houses.
While in South America, he crossed the Andes and lived in Santiago, Chile. In May 1960, one of the most powerful earthquakes on record hit the south of the country, killing or injuring more than 4,000 people and leaving two million homeless. The president, Jorge Alessandri Rodríguez, asked him to coordinate relief operations in the town of Valdivia, near the epicenter.
In 1963 the Salvation Army posted him to South Africa, where he was a traveling editor and journalist and a member of the Archbishop of Cape Town’s Race Affairs Committee and the National Christian Aid Committee. He had an editorial role from 1969 to 1971 at the international headquarters in London. His last rank in the Salvation Army was major.
For the next 28 years he worked with Oxfam, HelpAge International and the United Nations Aging Unit. Upon retirement, he set up his own consulting firm. He has been a guest speaker at international conferences and became the first lecturer in cross-cultural gerontology at the University of Florida.