James A. Putnam, Sr. age 89 of Jacob St., Cherryville, NC passed away Saturday, July 20, 2019. He was born May 10, 1930 in Gaston County to the late Walter Bryan and Docia Harriet Mauney Putnam and was a resident of Cherryville for his entire life except for his stint in the United States Air Force.
James was a Korean war veteran, serving in the Air Force from 1951-1953. He was a 60+ year member of the American Legion Post 100., where he served as Commander.
James was a member of the Cherryville Masonic Lodge #505 A.F. & A.M. and a 32-degree Mason as well as the Oasis Shriners where he received his 50-year certificate of membership award in both organizations. James was a retired Southern Bell employee with more than 35 years of service. He was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church since 1952. He served many years on the church council, as the Sunday School superintendent, and was a delegate to the NC church conference. James served as president of the southwest district of the Men in Mission and was awarded a lifetime membership.
He was active in many organizations benefiting the Cherryville community, serving as a Past President of the Cherryville Chamber of Commerce. He served on Look Up Gaston, an economic development initiative. He was a charter member of the Gaston County Master Gardeners and was presented with the prestigious lifetime membership in the Master Gardeners of Gaston County. Mr. Putnam was also a charter and lifetime member of the Foothills Herb Society.
James was active with the Boy Scouts of America more than 50 years, serving as Scout Master and Assistant Scout Master for Troop 323 of Cherryville, assisting over 50 scouts to achieve the rank of Eagle. He served on the Heartland District Eagle Review Board. He was dedicated to matching Eagle Scout candidates to mentoring sponsors making sure that the sponsor and the scout had as much in common as possible in the scout’s chosen career path. James served as a camp inspector for the Boy Scout Southern Region, inspecting Boy Scout camps across the South. He served on the Executive Board of the Piedmont Council and received the District Award of Merit and was given the Silver Beaver Award in 2000. This is the highest recognition of adult scouters in America. James was a recipient of the Lamb Award, a national award for Lutheran adults who are active in their church and the Boy Scouts of America.
James will always be remembered for his famous stories, leaving listeners wondering what winding road they would take and if they were real or slightly embellished. His quick wit, infectious smile, and contagious laugh will be missed.
James was preceded in death by his wife, Dorothy “Dot” Adeline Seagle Putnam in 2015, and son John Wesley Putnam in 1986. He was also preceded in death by his parents, 4 brothers, and 3 sisters.
Survivors include his son, James “Al” Putnam, Jr. and wife, Lyn of Stillwater, OK; grandchildren, Courtney Anne Putnam of Shelby, NC and James “Jay” Putnam, III of Austin, TX and his longtime caregiver and friend, Mamie Lee Richardson of Cherryville. He has two surviving siblings, Joe Billy and wife, Frances Putnam, of Cherryville, NC and Martha Jane and the late John Zeitler, of Myrtle Beach, SC. Mr. Putnam has many living nieces, nephews, and cousins.
A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, July 27, 2019 at 4:00 PM at St. John’s Lutheran Church with Rev. Ben Kifer, officiating and Dr. Don Flowers assisting.
His family will receive friends on Friday, July 26, 2019 from 6:00 to 8:00 PM at Carpenter-Porter Funeral & Cremation Services and from 3:00 to 3:45 PM prior to the service at the church.
Burial will be at Cherryville City Cemetery with Military Honors conducted by American Legion Post #100. Masonic Rites will be by the Cherryville Masonic Lodge #505 A.F. & A.M.
In lieu of flowers and food, the family has requested donations made to the St. John’s Lutheran Endowment Fund.