Deb Malewski

Contributing Writer

There are some people, especially educators, that once we’ve felt their influence, it will stay with us forever. Eldred “Tout” Toutant was one of those people to many who attended school in Charlotte. Toutant served as a beloved teacher, an innovator, a coach and athlete, a school administrator, a veteran, and much more to the city of Charlotte. Toutant, the son of Phillip and Lillian Toutant, was a 1939 graduate and a star athlete of Charlotte High School. During that time, he earned 12 varsity letters. He later attended Albion College, but the war disrupted that plan. He served four years in the Army. Reports state that Toutant served as a military police guard during the Nuremberg Trials during World War II in Germany. Toutant married Dorothy Wilker in 1947. They had three children. Eldred passed away in 2005 at the age of 85, Dorothy passed away in 2014. While attending college, he also coached at Springport. After completing college, Toutant returned to Charlotte to achieve his goal of “giving back” to the community, as he felt the town had given so much to him. He later earned his master’s degree in school administration from Michigan State University. Toutant was a teacher and administrator in the Charlotte School System for 43 years. He moved into the role of Charlotte Community Education Director, and offered a wide variety of classes, such as AutoTune Up, Belly Dancing, Dog Obedience, Sewing, Guitar, Drawing, Real Estate, and much more. Toutant was also well known as the developer of the Charlotte Adult Education Program in the late 1970s. He is the person that many adult graduates credited with getting them back into the classroom to complete their education. It took up to 480 hours of coursework to earn their incomplete high school diplomas. He “gave it enthusiasm,” the superintendent of Charlotte Schools at the time said, which made the program so successful. The returning students ranged in age from 18 to 65 years, and all appreciated that he had inspired them to get that diploma. Always a supporter of the local youth, Toutant established the Charlotte Summer Recreation League and the Summer Baseball League, along with the Charlotte Seventh Grade Camp. In May 1978, Charlotte City Council proclaimed a day as “Eldred Toutant Day” in recognition of his efforts and work. In 1987, Toutant was honored as the Grand Marshal of Frontier Days Parade. Toutant retired in 1989 and passed away in 2005. He and his wife are buried at Maple Hill Cemetery. In 2004 the newly established Charlotte Aquatic Center was dedicated with “pride and gratitude” to Eldred P. Toutant by the Charlotte Public Schools Board of Education. In 2019, Eldred Toutant was inducted into the Charlotte Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame in recognition of all that he gave to the students and community of Charlotte.