John Lewis Putz, 93, a resident of Los Altos Hills and Los Altos for 45 years, died peacefully on Tuesday morning, November 12th, surrounded by his family. Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, John was raised in Spooner, Wisconsin where he grew up on his family’s farm, attending elementary school in a one room school house. Upon graduation from high school he enrolled in the University of Wisconsin, where he received a Bachelor’s degree and lettered in fencing. After serving as a Communication Officer for the Army in the Pacific during WWII he moved to California to attend graduate school at Stanford University.
It was there that he met his future wife, Mary Ann Bardin from Salinas. They were married in 1947 and he received his Doctorate of Engineering degree in 1951. The couple remained in Palo Alto raising their four children while John worked at General Electric and then Varian Associates for 31 years. He was a leader in early Silicon Valley electronics specializing in microwave vacuum tubes. He attained the position of Senior Scientist and was awarded several patents on microwave tube designs. Even past retirement he continued working in the industry with Varian, training and consulting well into his seventies. After Mary Ann’s passing in 1984, he was lucky to find a wonderful companion in Ethel Middleton, and they spent many years traveling together. Throughout his life John shared his love of music with his family, teaching them the ukulele, banjo, mandolin and guitar, and there are many fond memories of nights filled with singing folk and “hootenanny” songs with his children and grandchildren. After retirement and up until his last days he continued to follow his passion for science by developing computer programs as a hobby. John is pre-deceased by his wife of 37 years, Mary Ann Putz, and survived by his four children, Christine Patton (Richard) of Santa Cruz, Bradley Putz of Sonora, Sandy Lynn of Eureka and Steven Putz (Laurie) of Santa Clara, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren. He was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather and will be greatly missed. A private family service is planned.