Thomas M. Putnam III

Date of Birth

January 3, 1945

Date of Death

April 5, 2022

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Thomas (Tom) M. Putnam III, a 15-year resident of Santa Barbara, passed away after a struggle with Parkinson’s Disease. Born in Oakland, California, he grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Colorado and his Masters in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin.

Tom loved technology and entered the computing field before personal computers were even invented. He culminated his 45-year career as Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Information Officer at University of California, Santa Barbara, after holding positions at Honeywell, Inc., Purdue University, and Texas A&M University. Through these positions, he witnessed the evolution of an industry in which his career was constantly being re-invented.

Music was a big part of Tom’s life and he was a masterful twelve-string guitar player. He joined jam groups in Santa Barbara and performed locally for special events and retirement communities. As a member of the Sunrise Chapter of the Rotary Club, he organized activities for the annual Old-Time Fiddlers’ Festival in addition to serving as Club Treasurer and Membership Director.

He enjoyed skiing, tennis, canoeing, sailing, fishing and traveling around the world. He lived a full life and captured these moments with his love of photography and his extensive video collections. He was a gentle giant with a sincere heart and a witty remark at hand. Resilience became a motto for his life, including his responses to various illnesses.

Tom loved his wife and daughter dearly. In fact, his most treasured moment was walking his daughter down the aisle in a 2020 miracle wedding. Despite physical constraints, he danced with her to the song, “My Girl”, which he frequently sang to her as a child. He enthusiastically attended all her childhood dance competitions and theater performances and was her biggest fan.

He is survived by his wife of 52 years, Linda Putnam; his daughter Ashley Putnam and son-in-law, Dartagnan Delgado of Philadelphia, PA; and his brother Gregory Putnam and sister-in-law Caryl Putnam of Healdsburg, CA. A memorial service will be held at Palm Park Beach House on May 30 at 3:00 p.m.

His spirit, his music, and his sense of humor will live on through all of us. As Irving Berlin says, “The song has ended but the melody lives on.”


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