The U.S. beef industry lost two greats recently. Stanley E. Stout, 64, Bonner Springs, KS, a national icon of the purebred auction business, died April 30; and Charles E. “Charlie” Ball, longtime chief executive of the powerful Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA), died June 4 in Amarillo. Our condolences to their families.

Stout, 64, a marketing professional and practical joker, both without peer, was both loved and admired by the purebred livestock industry. Fittingly his memorial service was held at the Flint Hills Rodeo Grounds in Strong City, KS, with the service concluded by a taped replay of Stout's calling the sale at the 2006 Western Stock Show in Denver, CO. For more info, read Garth Gardiner's tribute at www.gardinerangus.com.

Meanwhile, Ball was a trained ag engineer and worked as an ag writer for 24 years. A chief author of the Beef Research and Information Act signed into law in 1976 by President Ford, he helped set the stage for the successful national checkoff effort in 1988.

Ball authored three books — “Saddle Up,” a book on western horsemanship; “The Finishing Touch,” a history of TCFA and the cattle-feeding industry; and “Building the Beef Industry,” a history of the people, places, politics and issues that shaped the beef industry.