George C. Putnam, 80, died on Thursday, June 25, 2020 at his home in Fredericksburg.
George was fortunate to have the love and support of a wonderful wife and two children.
Mr. Putnam was a 1958 graduate of Rocky Mount Senior High. He continued his education by earning degrees from Campbell, East Carolina and George Washington University. He was also a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute (Charlottesville, VA) for senior federal executives.
In February 1962, Mr. Putnam embarked on a 28-year career in the federal government at the Social Security Office in Paducah, KY; and later moved to Social Security Headquarters in Baltimore, MD, where he served as a supervisor, manager, and Deputy Division Director. He went to Philadelphia, PA as Assistant Regional Director in the Regional Office of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (now Department of Health and Human Services). While in Philadelphia, he spent five months as the Department’s #2 person in the processing, at Fort Indiantown Gap PA, of several thousand Indochinese refugees from Vietnam.
He moved to Washington as a Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Regional Affairs and later as Special Assistant to Secretary Patricia Roberts Harris. During this period, he went to Miami, FL to set up processing of the Cuban refugees. His work here was acknowledged by the mayor of Miami who awarded him the “Key to the City”. He later set up and briefly headed the Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement. George completed his career in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services as Executive Officer for Secretary Donna Shalala.
After his retirement from government service, Mr. Putnam taught high school Social Studies for three years in Fairfax County, followed by three years as an adjunct professor for Webster University at Cherry Point Naval Air Station and Camp Lejeune, NC.
George spent six years in the Army Reserves in Kentucky and Maryland.
After retirement, George and Barbara traveled as they had always imagined. This included travel in the U.S. – especially the national parks and historical sites. They found river travel in Europe to be among the most wonderful travel experiences. They were able to visit multiple countries in Europe, twice visiting Paris and Budapest. Their European travels went West to East (London and France to the Black Sea) and North to South (Norway to Italy) and many wonderful places in between.
He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Barbara (Pratt) Putnam; son Carl Putnam II (Jennifer Summers) of Chandler, AZ; daughter Julie Lyn Putnam of Lorton, VA; and sister Susan Putnam of Cary, NC. He was predeceased by parents Carl and Inez “Sally” (Hobgood) Putnam, and brother Charles Putnam.
At Mr. Putnam’s request, he will be cremated and there will be no funeral ceremony.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Salvation Army or East Carolina University.