Cover photo for Kathleen A. Putnam's Obituary
Kathleen A. Putnam Profile Photo
1941 Kathleen 2023

Kathleen A. Putnam

May 22, 1941 — March 20, 2023


Kathleen A. Putnam was born on May 22th, 1941 and she died on March 20th, 2023. The End.

If Kathleen had written her own obituary, this is all she would have said about herself because she wasn’t a person who liked to be in the spotlight. But she didn’t write this, so here is her story:

Kathy, as she was known to most, was the daughter Alfred & Emily (Vincent) Burke.  Kathy grew up in Athol and shared her childhood with her very large, close-knit Lithuanian family that included several aunts, uncles and cousins.

After graduating from Athol High School in 1959, she attended Becker College in Worcester where she received high honors and degrees in both legal & medical secretarial studies. She worked at Worcester State Hospital as an assistant to the Director of Psychiatry, David M. Moriarty. Dr. Moriarty wrote two books that became standard curriculum in colleges nation-wide for decades. Kathy had a gift of writing and was responsible for editing and preparing the books for publishing and is acknowledged in both for her contributions. 

In 1966, she married her high school classmate and lifelong friend, John “Duffy” Putnam and they enjoyed 42 years together until his death in 2008.

Upon marrying Duffy, she returned to her beloved small town of Athol to raise their family. Kathleen worked for several years as a legal secretary for local Attorney Thomas McLaughlin until she decided to take a position in the Building Department for the Town of Athol, the job she loved the most and remained in until her retirement in 2002. Working for the town seemed to be her calling and sparked her interest in local politics and civic duty. She served on numerous committees and volunteered her time for many political campaigns. She mentored countless people as they began their careers in local government and became a “go-to” source of advice for many of her colleagues. She enjoyed cooking for her family, scenic drives throughout MA, VT & NH, her morning “breakfast buddies” and she kept herself “in-the-know”  about local politics and goings on.

Obituaries often talk of how much people loved their family and Kathy was no exception. She loved us, but she didn’t coddle us and she was not a “not my child” kind of mom. In fact, more often than not, we were considered guilty until proven innocent, which was not easy because she was the human equivalent of a polygraph.  She was incredibly smart, exceptionally witty and her comebacks were legendary. She showed us, by example, the importance of putting family first, taking care of our affairs, paying our bills on time, never spending more than we have, the need to perform community service and the beautiful act of helping those less fortunate (She would commonly mail cash and gift cards anonymously to people that she knew were struggling)

For those she loved, her devotion was bottomless. She was our matriarch, and our lives will never be the same without her. She deserved every bit of the attention that she never wanted.

Kathleen leaves behind her children, Daniel Putnam, Joan Putnam-Hamlett and Amy Sanden, her sons-in-law Shayne Gordon and Lars Sanden, her grandchildren Lexi and Lindsey Hamlett, Zach and Vinnie Gordon, Stephanie, Sophie, Mason and Alex Putnam, and many nephews, nieces and cousins. She also leaves behind her closest friends of many years, Lillian Boudreau & Norma Purple.

She was predeceased by her husband Duffy and her beloved sister, best friend and partner in crime,  Joan (Burke) Mochon.

We would like to thank our team of nurses from Centra Care VNA (Joi, Taylor, Ron & Diane), the home health care staff from The French Connection (Debbie, Michele and Bea) and  Kristie Woodard for helping us coordinate her care.

In lieu of any flowers, donations can be made to the Duffy Putnam Annual Children's Fishing Derby, an event that was near to our hearts. Donations may be sent to the  Petersham Gun Club, 158 Nelson Road, Petersham MA 01366.
Kathleen’s wishes were for her burial to be private.
Fiske-Murphy & Mack Funeral Home, 110 New Athol Rd., Orange is directing arrangements.
Kevin J. Mack, Walter C. Taylor, Douglas M. Stone, and Melissa A. McQuaid, Funeral Directors.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Kathleen A. Putnam, please visit our flower store.


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