John Sprague Stout was the son of John Philemon Stout and Villa Mae Sprague. He married Nancy (Jane) Halstead in 1943. He graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in agriculture and was a member of the Chi Beta Fraternity. Like his father, he was very active in agricultural associations. As a World War II veteran, he was also active in veterans associations and an influential member of the Chatham community.