Cover photo for Richard Alan Prout's Obituary
Richard Alan Prout Profile Photo
1933 Richard 2024

Richard Alan Prout

March 14, 1933 — February 6, 2024

Richard Alan Prout was born on March 14, 1933 in White Plains, New York where he grew up. His mother and father (both deceased) were Helen (Knapp) and Archibald Prout. He had three siblings, Donald Prout (deceased), Robert Prout, and Ellie Lacy (also deceased). After high school, he joined the Air Force to face his fear of flying, where he served our country in the Korean War as a navigator. He then graduated from Colorado University with degrees in Civil Engineering and Physics.

He met his first wife and mother of his children, Donna Prout, in California. They were divorced in 1969. He met the love of his life, Heide Prout in California in 1973. They were married on November 22, 1982, and lived in Santa Monica, California until Heide’s retirement after which they moved to their house in Tipton.  Richard was an avid gardener and his “award-winning” beautiful garden in Tipton was enjoyed by many.  Richard and Heide also had two Dachshunds, both deceased, which they loved with all their hearts, Zeppel and Jay Jay.

During his career, Richard worked as an aerospace engineer at Ball Bros (Ball Aerospace), Hughes Aircraft (Raytheon), JPL, and the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech) where he was also taught. He was a brilliant man and was the director of the building of one of the telescopes that went up into space. He also helped to develop a secret “Star Wars type technology” for destroying missiles in the air – without explosives – before they hit their targets. This technology helped to save many lives. His most well-known project was when he was at Caltech and serving on the team with Barry Barish developing the LIGO detector. Barish was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves.

After his retirement, Richard’s hobby of photography turned into a second career. He traveled all over Europe taking photographs and he printed them all in his own dark room, sometimes using etching screens to create the visual impressions of paintings. His photos were exhibited in many art shows all over the world – including every summer at Art-A-Fair in Laguna Beach, California, as well as the Dyansen Galleries in NYC, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Beverly Hills, and Hawaii. Thousands of people worldwide have his photos on their walls.

Richard died peacefully on February 6, 2024 at The Waters of Tipton.  He is survived by his loving wife Heide Prout; two daughters, Lisa Spinelli and Amy Prout; five grandchildren, Arianna Spinelli, Dante Spinelli, Nicolo Spinelli, Christian DeGroot, and Brandon DeGroot; his brother, Robert Prout, his sisters-in-law Sandy and Jane Prout; his brother-in-law, David Lacy, and many nephews and nieces.

He will be cremated and his ashes will be buried in the Fairview Cemetery in Tipton where he will await his beloved wife, Heide, to join him. His family is planning a private service in June. In lieu of flowers or donations, his family asks that you cherish and love your own family members while they are alive and that you live life to the fullest.

Young-Nichols Funeral Home is honored to be assisting the Prout family with Richard’s arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Richard Alan Prout, please visit our flower store.


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