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Putnam Wentworth Blodgett

Published: 3/10/2020 6:59:27 AM
Modified: 3/10/2020 6:59:19 AM

HANOVER, NH — On March 3, 2020, Putnam (Put) W. Blodgett died. He was born on August 1, 1931, and grew up on a dairy farm in Bradford, VT. He spent twelve years in the Bradford school system, graduating from Bradford Academy in 1949, and then went downriver to Dartmouth College, graduating in 1953.

He was back working on the farm the morning after graduation and he and his wife, Marilyn Geier, soon purchased the farm from his parents. They spent the next fifteen years enlarging the farm and building up a herd of registered Holstein cattle. Rather than enlarge still further, in 1965 they decided to add summer camps for children to their work schedule - horseback riding for girls for Marilyn, a boys’ Challenge Wilderness Camp for Put. After their divorce in 1968, he continued to direct the camp for a total of twenty-one years.

Creativity gave him the most satisfaction - whether it was building a large and productive farm, creating Challenge Wilderness Camp from scratch, laying out logging roads and hiking trails, setting cross-country ski racing tracks, building stone walls, or turning objects from wood found in the forest.

He strongly believed that any serious interest should have an organized effort to represent it and served the Farm Bureau while farming, as president of the Vermont and New England Camping Associations and on the American Camping Association board when camping and for many years as president of the Vermont Woodlands Association when involved in forestry. He was twice Vermont Outstanding Tree Farmer of the Year and once Northeastern Tree Farmer of the Year. He was also elected to the Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame.

Cross-country skiing was a passion and Put spent many years racing and then track setting for several Dartmouth Carnivals, three NCAA championships, National Championships, Olympic Tryouts, the 1980 Winter Olympics cross-country and biathlon races and the 1987 World Biathlon Championships.

Spending so much of his life on the Bradford dairy farm and camp, every time he raised his eyes, Moosilauke was his eastern horizon and became his spiritual home. He first climbed it in 1945 and spent many days working on its trails and supporting the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge.

He was honored with the Dartmouth Class of 1953 Award and the Dartmouth Alumni Award.

In 1980 he married Marion Fitzgerald Eastman and they spent many happy years together, especially in their Lyme Center hilltop home that he built with two carpenter friends.

He leaves his four children: Peter, Susan (Suzy), Putnam (Boo) and Patience (Patty).

In lieu of flowers donations could be made to the Blodgett Fund at the Dartmouth Outing Club or to the Vermont Woodlands Association. A celebration of his life will be held at the Moosilauke Ravine Lodge on his 89th Birthday, August 1st, 2020.

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