Born Jean Catherine Putnam on June 23, 1923, in St. Louis, Mo., she moved with her parents George William Putnam and Mildred Claire Putnam to Wilmette, Ill., and attended New Trier High School, where she was student president and became a skilled diver, equestrian and tennis player (facing off against Alice Marble then and much later), and in eighth grade was Charlton Heston’s first leading lady on stage. Jean attended Dana Hall in Massachusetts, Connecticut College for Women and Northwestern University, studying American history.
In 1942, she dated and fell in love with a boyhood acquaintance, Robert Fisher (Bud) Daily; they were married July 12, 1944, while he was serving in the Navy, and together they enjoyed 68 years of “divine” times together. After moving to Decatur, Ill., in 1958, she became the state’s first elected woman to a park district (and airport) commission; during her tenure a new FAA tower was installed and the city’s first public ice rink was constructed. Also in 1958, she began nearly a half century as a summertime legend of energy and hospitality for her family and friends at Torch Lake in northern Michigan.
Moving to San Marino, Calif., in 1965, she became a docent at the L.A. Zoo and was elected president of the Sandpiper Homeowner Association in Palm Desert. A lifelong learner, she took up still photography, artfully documenting her travels along the entirety of the Lewis and Clark Trail and to China, Africa and Europe, where one afternoon while shopping in London she had a chance and mutually enchanting encounter with Lady Di.
In retirement, she and Bud moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, where she volunteered at the hospital and with The Nature Conservancy, while renewing and making cherished friendships. A descendent of Revolutionary War Gen. Israel Putnam, she is survived by her loving and beloved husband, Bud; three sons, Bob, Peter and Hall (and Shelley); three grandsons, Brent (and Andrea), Putnam (and Krissy) and Adkisson; and two great-grandchildren, Max and Rylan Daily.
In lieu of flowers, Jean’s family invites her many “marvelous” friends to spend a special time with their children or grandchildren, and to send a note with warm thoughts or memories to Bud, at 9540 Ekwanok Drive, Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240. That would make Jean smile.