Jean Putnam (Brown) passed away peacefully on Saturday Nov. 27, at the Islands Convalescent Center in Friday Harbor. Jean, better known to some as “Gammy,” was born in Aurora Illinois on Oct. 1, 1913 and spent her youth and young adult life in the midwest, becoming a well- respected educator. She moved to Orange County, California in 1961 and was honored for her dedication to excellence in education by receiving recognition by the State of California Board of Education as a master teacher. Jean owned and operated the Oakmont Private School there for many years, acting as administrator, curriculum planner and teacher in the K-12 school. She had a passion for higher math and was known by many to use humorous and innovative ways to help her students learn.
Her second career, as an artist, began in Marin County, California and followed her to Orcas Island in 1982. She quickly gained respect and admiration for her artistic gift. Jean’s unique style led to commissions by local residents including the Turtleback Inn and a full room mural for Leo Lambiel. Her work was featured numerous times at the Orcas Center and she was a member of the Olga Artworks. Jean inspired and encouraged many new artists, giving classes to students of all ages.
Like the extraordinary paintings, her beautiful garden was a sight to behold. Roses were her favorite, especially the stunning “Spice Twice.” Beautiful and graceful, like her roses, Jean was above all a true lady. She is survived by her son Michael Day of Petaluma, Calif., her daughter Jeannie Doty of Eastsound, three grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and a great-great-grandchild. Her artwork is currently all held in private collections and, at her request, there will be no service or memorial. The family would like to thank Butler Elder Care and Islands Convalescent Center for their loving care over the last few years.