Longtime department housekeeper Putnam retires

Chris Putnam is celebrating his retirement from the University of Iowa after 34 years of service, including 26 years in the Business Office as a patient account representative and 8 years with Environmental Services as a housekeeper. On Monday evening, before Putnam’s final shift, the department hosted a small celebration of his time with us. Assembled colleagues offered their thanks for his efforts and, more important, his friendship.

Surprised by the gathering and gifts, Putnam delivered an eloquent appreciation. “I get to see you at the end of your days, not when you’re stressed, but when you’re ready to unwind from a long day. I’ve always counted myself lucky to know you all in those moments.”

An Iowa City native, Putnam graduated from Regina High School in 1976. He graduated from Northeast Missouri State University in 1981.

Putnam met his wife, Vicky (who composed most of this biography!), while both were working in the Business Office and they have been married for 32 years. They have two children, Jessica and Zach (Ashley) and two grandchildren, Caden and Kassy. They also have a beloved four-legged friend named Jasper.

Putnam has carried a love of the great outdoors throughout his life, and has always shared that love with his family. He is an avid fisherman, frequently taking trips to northeast Iowa, and loves to share his catch of trout with neighbors and friends. He enjoys hunting, bird-watching, and is constantly finding new rocks, fossils, or feather treasures that he tries to display anywhere Vicky will let him. His outdoor camera is always set up and ready for the next big deer, fox, or turkey to cross the backyard.

He also follows the Putnam tradition of a love of food and cooking, creating his magic masterpieces and “messes” with his late-night cooking. He also recently started working with a new smoker. He also enjoys gardening, canning, and spring morel mushroom hunting.

When the Putnams are not traveling to the Colorado mountains to visit Jessica or to Virginia Beach to visit Zach and his family, they are planning the next trip to a place they have never been.

Putnam prides himself as being more than just a housekeeper keeping things clean. He has made many friends over the years and nothing makes him feel better than to know he has made someone’s day easier by lending an ear or making someone smile with one of his many puns or stories.

In retirement Chris will most likely participate in his usual activities—just a lot more of them!

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