Gordon E. Putt (or “Gordy” or “Putt” to his friends), accepted the hand of Jesus and stepped into his healthy heavenly body on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at the age of 84 surrounded by his loving family.
Born Sept. 17, 1931 in Cherry Hill Township, Indiana, PA, during the Great Depression, Putt was the son of the late Clyde and Nora Barnett Putt. Despite being a self-proclaimed “sickly, little kid,” working the family dairy farm instilled in Putt a committed work ethic, strength beyond his size, and an ardent love of butter. He graduated from Clymer High School at a time when most students were unable to complete 12 grades of schooling, and enlisted in the United States Air Force on his 18th birthday.
While Putt had aspirations of flying or working with planes, as the Korean War began he found himself a staff sergeant working as a medic in the Air Force Medical Corps at Lackland Air Force Base. The base was a first stateside stop for many injured veterans returning from battle. A tender heart in gruff exterior, Putt was moved by the wounded he cared for and shared stories of tending to wounded soldiers and the importance of showing them respect. While working at the base, Putt met Eleanor Wines. The two would marry in San Antonio, Texas, and go on to have three daughters and share 37 years of marriage.
After serving his country, Putt attended California University of Pennsylvania. Upon earning a Bachelor of Science degree, Putt found his first industrial arts teaching job at Everett High School and began a career lasting more than three decades. After Everett, Putt was hired by Lower Dauphin School District and became the first industrial arts teacher at the newly-opened school. In addition to teaching, Putt handled the school’s printing needs, designing school playbills, diplomas, and more. After a brief employment at AMP Inc., Putt joined the staff of Central Dauphin East High School where he continued to teach industrial arts to students until his retirement.
Never one to be idle, Putt spent his summers off from school working a variety of jobs through the carpenters’ union, helping to build area shopping centers, construct cooling towers at Three Mile Island, and much more. He later began working as a solo builder, tackling home improvements and custom woodworking projects. He accomplished many large-scale jobs while in solo practice, often calling on well-taught former students to lend a hand.
Putt loved spending time with family and friends, traveling, reading, playing dominos and cards, eating good food, and sharing stories. Surviving are his ex-wife, Eleanor Putt, with whom he shared family celebrations and many lunch dates. Their daughters: Kim, wife of Mark Perrin of Harrisburg; Angela, wife of Brian Cassell of Tamaqua; and Karen, wife of Mark Reichley of Palmyra; and four grandchildren, Erika and Amelia Cassell of Tamaqua, and Nathaniel and Hope Reichley of Palmyra. Two sisters, Eleanor Grundy, wife of the late Jack Grundy of Bedford, and Marlene Rice, wife of the late Clair “Fred” Rice of Indiana, PA; two brothers, Wayne Putt, husband of Myrna of Indiana, PA, and the late Dean Putt who preceded him in death; and five nephews and one niece.
A Celebration of Life will be held Thursday, June 30, 2016 at Trinity United Methodist Church, 210 West Main Street, Hummelstown, at 11 AM. Friends may gather beginning at 10:30 AM. Internment at Fort Indiantown Gap will be held privately for family. Arrangements are being handled by Trefz & Bowser Funeral Home, Inc., 114 West Main Street, Hummelstown.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to American Legion Post 72, 975 East Main Street, Palmyra, PA 17078 and Blue Mountain Ministries, 64 North Londonderry Square, Palmyra, PA 17078.