OBITUARY

John Russell Putnam

September 2, 1946October 12, 2020
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John Russell Putnam, 74, of Dallas Texas, passed away on Monday, October 12, 2020, after a battle with cancer.

He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on September 2, 1946, son of Dorothy Olson (Lisa Self) and foster parents, Wilmer and Josie Wassink. He is survived by his high school sweetheart and spouse of 55 yrs, Lillie Putnam, and three children, Douglas, April (Steve Byrd), and Donovan (Donny). Brother Douglas, Sister Joan Brietzman (Don). Grandchildren Alex and Jonathan Byrd.

John enlisted with the Army in 1963 with his best friend David Allen (Chris) and married his high school sweetheart, Lillie in 1965. He was trained in the infantry division (7th Infantry Honor Guard), and also cultivated an eye for photography while being stationed in both Korea and Japan. In Japan, Lillie and John began their family with their first born, Douglas. John’s zest for adventure led him to climb Mt. Fuji multiple times and his photography skills earned him duties to photograph special events for high ranking officers and celebrities including the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Ann Margaret, and Bob Hope.

After the army, John and Lillie returned to Dallas and he began to work in a camera store and as a freelance photographer shooting weddings. After a stint of working for his brother-in-law, Richard "Pops" Bates in the motorcycle parts business (Bates #1 motorcycle parts). Friendship and mentorship led to John opening the second franchise store, Bates #2 in 1974. The Bates #2 store became his life’s passion until he retired at age 70. The Bates franchise is still in business to this day including Bates Used Parts (Robert Bates) and Bates #2 (new ownership Dion Sanford who worked by John’s side since 1984).

John's sense of humor was second to none and everyone agrees he was the "life of the party." He loved to dance, sing, and bring joy and happiness to those around him. He often would dance until the music stopped. His unselfish attitude, loyalty, and willingness to help others is reflected by the countless friends and family whose lives he touched.

“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven cannot heal.”

Services will be held at: Sparkman Funeral Home 1029 South Greenville Ave Richardson, TX 75081

The family asks that masks and social distancing be practiced. In lieu of hugging, we suggest an elbow bump.

Visitation/Viewing will be Thursday, October 15, 6:00pm - 8:30 pm.

•Social distancing suggestion

•Last names A-L 6-7:15pm

•Last names M-Z 7:15-8:30pm

Chapel Service will be Friday, October 16, at 11:00 am.

Burial TBD, DFW National Cemetery

Services

  • Visitation

    Thursday, October 15, 2020

  • Funeral Service

    Friday, October 16, 2020

Memories

John Russell Putnam

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Mary Dennison

October 16, 2020

Remembering a life well lived. My deepest sympathy to Lillie, Doug, Donovan and April and the rest of the family. He will be greatly missed. Love you all.

Keith Reese

October 16, 2020

A selection from the Book of Wisdom:

"The souls of the just are in the hand of God. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. However, they are in peace; their hope full of immortality; those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with his elect."

God continue to bless you Donovan, with family, friends and memories to inspire you.

Sara Olley

October 15, 2020

John always made me smile! He was kind, funny, and gave the best hugs. Not only was he a dear friend to our family, but also a valuable business partner. John always supported MDS and treated us like Bates Crew. We send our love to Lillie and the rest of the family. We are thankful to have known John and proud to have called him a friend.

David Baccus

October 15, 2020

John, we haven't seen each other since you officially retired, We spent many a day talking about saving money and not spending what we earned. Funny how I go to a motorcycle parts store and talk about finances, not motorcycles, but that's what we did. Watching you change all those tires and not allowing anyone to touch your tire changing machine but you and Dion. Lunch behind the counter, having a beer after you closed for the day. You were a supplier of parts and advice to more racers than I can remember. So many motorcyclists depended on you and the tremendous inventory you could count on at Bates#2!
Your Legacy is every life you touched.

Dion Sanford

October 15, 2020

It is hard to know what to say except Lily, Doug, April and Donovan please know my love and prayers are with you now and always and you I believe y’all know how I (pretty much every one) Felt about the one, the Only Big Daddy John Putnam.
Not to many people spend that much time together over the last 35 years that aren’t married haha and I hope to see you in heaven my friend
.

Chris Gunter

October 14, 2020

John was a friend and a mentor for most of my young life. He took me under his wing to turn my passion and love to motorcycles into a livelyhood that I still have today. I have many memories of the Bates days with John. He brought fun and sometimes outright hysterical moments at times. He enjoyed his store and taught me so much. He had an uncanny ability to scan inventory with his head. but mostly his love and interest to others shined. He always was interested in me and my families well being. I will always cherish the many industry trips to California and Cincinnati that was to a kid that loved motorcycles a dream. I will miss him greatly.

Paul Martin

October 14, 2020

John you will be missed by so many, you were always a willing person to help all of us motorcycle crazed people. We had requests and deadlines that were always out of sync with the rest of the world, but with that always listening ear and interest to help you always got us through the immediate crisis. We know you are in a much better place without pain and discomfort but you will always be in our hearts. Until we see you again Rest In Peace my friend.

Barry McClish

October 14, 2020

Hello Putnam Family,
So sorry for your loss! Hard for me to believe. I loved John very much. He made a huge impact on my and my family’s life. I knew him since I was 12 years old after walking into Bates on Hines and Royal for the first time. As you know I worked for him many years. Most of all, he was my friend. I will always treasure the time spent in his presence along with all of you! I look forward to seeing him again in Heaven. Prayers and Love to All of you!!

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