George Putnam passed away peacefully on March 25 at the age of 92. He was the retired chairman of Putnam Investments and each of the mutual funds in the Putnam Group. He joined the company in 1951 and retired in 2001. During that half century the company grew from one fund to over 100 funds.
He was born in Manchester, Mass., on Aug. 30, 1926. He attended the Dexter School in Brookline, Mass., then St. Marks School in Southborough, Mass. He served with the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II. He held an AB degree from Harvard College (magna cum laude) and an MBA from Harvard Business School (with distinction) and was awarded honorary degrees by Harvard and Bates colleges. He was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
George was a former overseer and treasurer of Harvard University and founding chairman of the Harvard Management Co. He was a trustee of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., and a former trustee and board chair of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and its Museum School, past chairman of the trustees of the WGBH Foundation and a trustee emeritus of Wellesley College. He was a former overseer of Northeastern University and The Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, and was a past trustee of College of the Atlantic and Bradford College.
He was a trustee and then honorary trustee of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Vincent Memorial Hospital and the McLean Hospital, whose board he chaired for a quarter-century. He was a past trustee of Colonial Williamsburg and the Trustees of Reservations, a former trustee of American Public Radio (now Public Radio International), New England Aquarium, Boston Museum of Science, Maine Nature Conservancy, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Massachusetts Horticultural Society, St. Marks School, Shore Country Day School and Brookwood School and served on the council of both the Massachusetts Historical Society and New England Historical Genealogical Society.
On the national level, George was a governor and past chairman of the Investment Company Institute and past governor of the NASD (National Association of Security Dealers) and a member of the National Market Advisory Board. At the state level, he was a founding member of the Massachusetts Education Loan Authority and Chairman of the Governor’s Committee to Select Judges. In Manchester, he served as a trustee of the Manchester Public Library and chaired the town’s Finance Committee.
Over the years he served as a director for many public corporations including the Boston Co., Boston Safe Deposit & Trust, Combustion Engineering, Freeport-McMoran, General Mills, Houghton Mifflin, Mallinckrodt Chemical, Marsh & McLennan, Rockefeller Center, Garfinkle Brooks Brothers, Hitchner Manufacturing, Gorton’s of Gloucester, Computer Controls, SCA Services and Spray Engineering.
George was dedicated to his family. In addition, he had many passions, including raising orchids, carpentry, model trains and genealogy. He was happiest riding his tractors or sailing along his beloved Maine coast.
He is survived by his wife, Nancy Burrows Boardman, and was previously married to Barbara Weld until her death in 1993. Their children are George Putnam III, Bambi (Lyman) Putnam and Susan W. Peck. He had 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Peabody Essex Museum, WGBH or MSPCA-Angell.
Funeral Services will be private.