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William J. Putman ‘55

William J. Putman lived a life filled with music and service after graduating from PC in 1955.

He majored in Bible and minored in history before his military career began a year after graduation. Putman attended the basic infantry officers’ course at Fort Benning, Ga., where he was permanently assigned. He served as a platoon leader and training officer and later as aide-de-camp to the assistant commandant at the US Army Infantry School. Putman served two tours of duty in Vietnam, at other US forts, and ended his military career in Japan.

He graduated from the Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Richmond, Va., after serving in the military. Putman returned to Fort Benning to serve as the protestant director of religious education for 22 years.

Music played a significant role throughout Putman’s life. He served as the assistant organist at several military chapels and as tenor soloist in many choirs. He sang in the Honolulu Symphony Orchestra when stationed there and, while in Japan, was one of three Americans selected to the Yokohama Symphony Chorus. Putman also made a series of English language songs for Japanese children to use in school to learn English.

Putman was a member of the infantry chapel choir at Fort Benning for a record 42 years. He was a lifetime donor to the Annual Fund until his death in 2016. But, even today, Putman’s musical legacy lives on at PC: He established the Jane Foster Putman and Roger Dale Kappel Scholarship to help students of need who are involved with piano or voice. The scholarship honors his mother. Putman’s estate also gifted his nine-foot 1950’s-era Steinway Model D grand piano to the music department.

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