In memory of Michael Putnam

11th October 1933 - 10th November 2020

(Click here to view a few more photos)

Tribute to Michael Putnam (taken from our Grapevine Magazine)

We are sad to record the death of Michael Putnam, who died on 10th November at the age of 87. Michael was born in the ‘Mill House’ at Piccotts End Mill on 11th October 1933. He attended Hemel Hempstead Grammar School. His family had close ties with Marlowes Baptist Church and his father was, at various times, secretary of the Men’s Contact Club, Deacon  (1938 – 1960), Life Deacon, Home Work Fund Secretary, Envelope Scheme Secretary, Minutes Secretary, representative on the Belmont Road Committee and on the Herts Baptist Association (HBA). Michael went on to follow in his father’s footsteps in his commitment to the life and work of the church.

Michael was baptised and became a member of the church in 1948. In 1951 it was recorded that he and Mr R J Avery had been running the BB Life Boys (Anchor Boys) for nearly a year “without the assistance of any senior leader”. That autumn he went to university (Aberystwyth), where, in 1954, he was awarded a BSc in Agriculture.  He went on to do National Service and married Ilid in December 1955. They eventually settled in Kent and had three children, Andrew, Marion and Glenda (who sadly died in September 1975 at the age of 14).

During the years Michael was away from Hemel he was involved in the setting up, in 1961, of the development charity Operation Agri by the Baptist Men’s Movement.  Russell Ashley-Smith from OA has sent the following contribution to this tribute:

“During the Baptist Men’s Movement (BMM) conference at Swanwick in March 1961, three young men volunteered to take responsibility for Operation Agri.  Michael was one of these young professionals and until his resignation due to ill-health in June 2017 was almost continuously one of the charity’s leaders (there was a short gap in the early 70s), for many years as treasurer.  He was also a committee member of BMM.”

(There is a lovely photo of Michael on the Operation Agri website

In 1975 the family moved to Potten End and he and Ilid were received into membership at Marlowes in January 1976. Later that year Michael was elected as a deacon and then as Church Secretary. He served in this post for two periods (1976-80 and 1987-92). In 1977 he was involved in the organisation of the Three Arts Festival to raise funds for the new Grovehill Church. He was also chairman of the Hemel Hempstead Baptist Council, the first chairman of the joint committee set up to plan for the coming together of the Boxmoor and Marlowes churches and chairman of the Fabric Committee until 1987 (although he remained very involved in the work). Michael sang in the choir until it was disbanded in the late ‘80s and in April 1980 he was interviewed when the BBC recorded ‘Songs of Praise’ at the church. For many years from the mid ‘80’s Michael and Ilid invited the Carey fellowship to visit their lovely garden for a summer garden party.

In 1994 Michael was elected president of the HBA for a year. He was appointed as a Life Deacon in November 2001 and acted as Moderator during the fairly short interregnum from 2002-3. In recent years Michael continued to attend deacons’ meetings and to be very involved in the life of Carey, while also serving other Baptist churches in Hertfordshire as a lay preacher. Following Ilid’s diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, he reduced his commitments at the church in order to care for her. Ilid died in March 2016 shortly after their Diamond Wedding Anniversary. Following a stroke in 2018, Michael moved to a care home in Sawtry to be near Andrew. He has been, and will be, greatly missed at Carey.


(Much of the detail in this tribute has been found in the updated version of the church history (up to the end of 2010), which Michael himself completed.)