Tennessee Farm Bureau Mourns Loss of Former President

Mr. James Smith Putman, 94, retired farmer and  former President of the Tennessee  Farm Bureau Federation, died Monday, January 24, 2011 at his residence on Spainwood Street.

Funeral services were conducted Wednesday,  January 26,  at West 7th St. Church of Christ with Ted Burleson, Jeremy Butt officiating. Graveside services were conducted Thursday, January 27,  at Sudberry Cemetery in Friendship, Tennessee with Jason Sadler officiating.

Memorials may be made to the West Seventh Street Church of Christ, 405 West Seventh Street, Columbia, TN 38401 or Columbia Academy, 1101 West Seventh Street, Columbia, TN 38401. Notes of sympathy may be sent to the family at www.oakesandnichols.com.

A native of the Friendship Community in Dyer County, he was the son of the late James Henderson Putman and Ninnie Bell Putman, also Dyer County natives and attended Friendship High School.

Mr. Putman was a full-time farmer in Dyer County with his father for the first 40 years of his adult life on the farm where he spent his boyhood years. An active member of the Miller’s Chapel Church of Christ, he served as an Elder, Church Treasurer and Sunday School teacher.

He was active in Dyer County civic and community affairs, served as President of the County and State 4-H Club Council, 12 years on the County Equalization Board, and a member of the Bank of Friendship Board of Directors since 1964. Elected President of the Dyer County Farm Bureau in 1956, he served in that position for 18 years. He was elected to the Tennessee  Farm Bureau Board at the 1967 state convention, elected Vice-President in 1972 and was elected  President at the state convention in 1973.

His election to the state presidency required that he leave his family farm and move to the state headquarters located in Columbia in 1974, leaving his son, Jimmy, to continue management of the farm. He served in this position for 13 years, also serving as a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Board of Directors for 8 years.

Among his community and civic activities in Maury County include Maury County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, Maury County Mental Health Board of Directors, Columbia Academy Board of Directors for 15 years, First Farmers and Merchants National Bank Board of Directors since 1974 and membership in the Columbia Rotary Club.

Mr. Putman also served as a member of the Freed-Hardeman University Board of Directors for 18 years.

He enjoyed his membership and involvement in the activities of the West Seventh Street Church of Christ since making his home in Columbia, and served as a Deacon and Sunday School teacher.

Survivors include his wife, Connie Casteel Putman of Columbia; two sisters, Pauline Mount and Charlotte Sweatt, both of Dyer County; two grandsons, Jim (Aimee) Putman and Johnny Putman, both of Dyer County; daughter-in-law Janie Putman of Dyer County; three great grandchildren James Putman, Sarah Putman, Jonathan Putman all of Dyer County; two stepchildren Scott (Jamie) Casteel, Jessica S. (Paul) Fann both of Columbia; and four step grandchildren Ally Casteel, Rachel Fann, Cole Casteel and Preston Casteel.

He was first married in 1933 to Sarah Pirtle Putman who died July 8, 1978. His second wife, Myrtle Nickell Putman, died January 8, 1999. He was also preceded in death by his son James Lewis Putman.

Serving as active pallbearers are Department Heads of the Tennessee State Farm Bureau employed by Mr. Putman as young men during his tenure as President: Dan Wheeler, Julius Johnson, Pettus Read, Bobby Beets, Joe Pearson, John Woolfolk, Charles Curtis, Tim Dodd, Hulet Chaney, Lonnie Roberts, and Dennis Stevens.

Honorary pallbearers include Officers, Directors, employees and members of the Tennessee State Farm Bureau; Elders, Deacons, and members of the Auditorium Class of West Seventh Street Church of Christ; members of the Columbia Rotary Club; Officers, Board of Directors and employees of First Farmers and Merchants National Bank; Board of Directors of Columbia Machine Works; past and present Board of Directors of Columbia Academy and Paul and Freida Wagster.