Lois Putnam Brown – UPDATED

Memorial services for 98-year old Lois Putnam of Oelrichs, SD, are Sat, Feb 6, 2021 at 2:00 PM at the Edgemont Cemetery in Edgemont, SD.

A reception will follow at the Oelrichs Community Center from 4-6:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established for Stillwater Hospice, Oelrichs Rescue Unit, and Prairie View Methodist Church. Donations can be sent to Chamberlain Chapel, PO Box 970, Chadron, NE 69337.

Online condolences can be made at www.chamberlainchapel.com

Lois Mable Evans Putnam Brown was born on June 3, 1922 in Chadron, NE, to Corneilius and Mable (Bigelow) Evans and passed away peacefully in her home on Thursday, Jan 28, 2021. 

Lois’ birth took place in the home of a nurse, with a homeopathic doctor in attendance.  She always considered her Aunt Cleo Bigelow, who lived with them, her second mother. 

Lois was a “town” girl who loved the country, so she rode the train to Harrison, NE, as often as she could, spending time with her grandparents, cousins, (who substituted for siblings), and with Uncle Lee Bigelow on the ranch, which she considered her second home.  

Aunt Cleo had a car, (her mother never learned to drive while her dad worked for the railroad and was gone from home a lot), and taught her about “country” life.

Aunt Cleo also took Lois on many adventures, including seeing President Coolidge at the State Game Lodge in Custer State Par when she was 7. One of her fondest memories was a trip to St. Louis, which had hosted the World’s Fair in 1904. She also rode the train to Chicago by herself to visit a friend when she was 15. 

Lois attended Chadron Prep, graduating at age 16 and started nursing training in Denver, but had to change her career choice for health reasons and returned to attend what is now Chadron State College.

There Lois met a handsome Navy chief pilot, Donald Putnam from Edgemont, at a college sorority Christmas dance. Donald was in charge of training the Navy cadets, stationed at the college before WW II.

Lois completed her Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Education and taught school in Gordon until she and Donald were married July 27, 1944 in Chadron.  She joined Donald in Jacksonville, Fla, for a time, as he continued training Navy pilots. They returned to the Putnam Ranch at Burdock, SD, after his discharge. 

Lois gave birth to three daughters, Pamela, LeeAnn, and Donna Sue, fulfilling her dream of having a family, as she had not enjoyed being an only child. In 1956, they moved to Oelrichs, where she restarted her teaching career.

Lois may have been raised a “town” girl, but following her marriage to Donald, she became a “country” girl. Her home included countless dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, colts, cold, wet baby calves, orphaned bunnies, fox kits and raccoons. 

For many years, she washed and ironed blue jeans and white shirts for the girls as they rodeoed.  She traveled many a mile with the girls and their horses to 4-H, high school and Little Britches rodeos and trick riding events. 

Lois was often asked many years after they stopped performing if she was related to the trick riding Putnam Girls and proudly said she was.

Lois was very supportive and proud of Pamela for completing her law degree, LeeAnn for opening her big heart to any child or animal who needed love, and Sue for her family and career.

For several years she took all the SD grandchildren to visit the WY grandchildren and walk around Devil’s Tower, then took the WY kids home with her and took the whole crew for two-week swimming lessons in Hot Springs.   Potato Ole’s were usually involved.

Lois loved to travel.  She toured Europe and she and Donald visited Hawaii, Alaska and Israel, before his death in 1989. In 1997, she retired from teaching after 46 years, but her grandchildren and great-grandchildren continued to keep her busily involved with their activities. 

She was present to see grandson Chad win his two world championship saddle bronc riding titles, and filled her home with his pictures – although they now have to compete for space with grandson Dustin’s artwork. 

Lois also never missed a home game to watch great-granddaughters Jada and T’lea play ball. 

Lois was lucky enough to find a second love in longtime friend, Dave Brown, and they married November 18, 2007.  Dave and Lois danced, fished and traveled all thru the southwest until his death in 2011.

Lois’s passions in life were her family and teaching.  She always loved teaching and taught both elementary and a wide range of high school subjects, but music and third and fourth graders were her favorites.

Her teaching began in Gordon, NE, then Edgemont, the one-room Windy Hill School, Oelrichs, and Loneman before setting the Red Cloud School at Holy Rosary Mission where she retired in 1997, after 43 years of teaching. 

Lois enjoyed her continued relationships with her former students and fellow teachers until her passing.

Lois was an excellent seamstress.  She designed and made her daughter’s regular dresses, trick riding costumes, rodeo queen attire, and prom and wedding dresses. She also sewed many ‘fancy’ dresses for friends.

Besides being the Oelrichs school music director, Lois also directed the choir and played piano and organ for the Oelrichs Methodist Church for almost 60 years. 

She was a Fall River County 4-H leader, member of theextenson club, Phi Beta Kapa, life member of American Legion Auxiliary, Chadron State College Survivors Club, United Methodist Women, helped start and served on the Oelrichs Ambulance Service and was an avid supporter of SD High School and Oelrichs Rodeo.  

Lois considered herself a very blessed person who lived a long, healthy and productive life, filled with wonderful memories, family, students and friends, near and far. 

Grateful for having shared her life are her late husbands Donald Putnam and Dave Brown, daughters Pamela (Jerry) Ireland, Miami, OK, LeeAnn Ferley (Jerry) of Oelrichs, Donna Sue (Howard) Willey of Harrison, NE, stepdaughter Peggy (Ray Michaud) Brown, Solon, Ohio and stepson Steve (Julie Dana) Brown, Monmouth, ME; 10 grandchildren, 2 step-grand-children, 20 great grand-children, and a host of cousins, other relatives and friends. 

Lois was preceded in death by a stillborn brother, parents Neil and Mable Evans, Aunt Cleo Bigelow, husbands Donald Putnam and Dave Brown, son-in-law Jerry Ferley, and father-in-law and mother-in-law George and Minnie Putnam. 

Chamberlain Chapel of Chadron is in charge of arrangements.

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