© 2004 Beth Teele-Haidinger

last updated: June 25, 2015

Frank Putnam, Sr.

Frank W. Putnam Ph.D, Distinguished Research Professor in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Putnam – Frank W. of Bloomington, IN and Cincinnati, OH died November 29, 2006 at the age 89. Born August 3, 1917 to Franz and Henrietta (Holzmann), he lost his parents at age 3 and was raised in an orphanage in New Britain, CT. He excelled in school, winning numerous prizes in the spelling and math contests popular at that time. Attending Wesleyan University, he supported himself on scholarships and by winning academic prizes in a variety of disciplines. Graduating summa cum laude in 1939 with distinction in Chemistry, he received a Masters Degree in 1940 and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota in 1942. During World War II, while on the faculty of Duke University,he served as a civilian in the U.S. Chemical Corp at Camp Detrick, Maryland as part of a team charged with defending the U.S. against biological warfare.

He joined the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Chicago in 1947 and began his life long study of the many proteins found in human blood. Early in his career he recognized that Bence Jones protein, which is found in large quantities in patients with multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood, could be a key to unlocking secrets of the human immune system. He began the process of decoding the structure of Bence Jones proteins obtained from patients with different variants of the disorder. While on sabbatical at Cambridge University in 1952 he worked with Fred Sanger (who went on to be the recipient of 2 Nobel Prizes).In 1955 he became Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry at University of Florida College of Medicine where he developed new techniques for analyzing the amino acid sequences of proteins. In 1965, he founded one of the first programs in molecular biology at Indiana University in Bloomington.

His research team published the first complete primary structure of human gamma globulin in 1967. He subsequently published the first complete structures for two additional classes of immunoglobulins, IgA and IgM. He became a Distinguished Professor of Molecular Biology in 1974 and a Distinguished Professor Emeritus in 1988. He was a beloved professor and teacher of medical students, graduate students and scores of Postdoctoral fellows with whom he continued to correspond professionally throughout his life time. He received numerous international honors including awards from European royalty and Markle and Guggenheim fellowships. He was a fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge England and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, where he served as Chairman for the Assembly of Life Sciences of the National Research Council from 1977-81 and on the Board of Directors for the Atomic Bomb Causality Commission – a joint program between the US and Japan. His summers were spent in Maine on Lake Meddybemps, where he enjoyed water skiing until age 75. His wife, Dorothy Linder, died in 1997. He is survived by his son, Frank W. Putnam, Jr (Karen) and daughter, Beverly P. Gordon (Charles) and by five grandchildren, Jason, Abby and Ted Gordon and Philip and Will Putnam.

Submitted to me by Karen Putnam – Dec., 2006

2012 Dennys River and Lake Meddybemps Water Management, by Colby Bruchs

Photos from Pete from the Superfund Site - Indian Tribute, Sept. 2012.

For a peek at what is being sold by the LMA, click here

Ice above Town dock - 4.4.13

Ice below Town Dock - 4.4.13

Open water above camp - 4.4.13

Denny's River at canal mouth - 4.5.13

Denny's River upstream to bridge - 4.5.13

Broken ice and open water above dock - 4.5.13