Cover photo for Mary Cliburn Putnam's Obituary
Mary Cliburn Putnam Profile Photo
1930 Mary 2024

Mary Cliburn Putnam

October 4, 1930 — January 4, 2024


Tupelo- Mary Elizabeth Cliburn Putnam, 93, passed away Thursday, January 4, 2024, at her home.  She was born on October 4, 1930, in Hazlehurst, Mississippi to Charles and Addie Cliburn.  Early in life, Mary accepted Jesus as her Savior and she has remained a faithful member of His Church throughout her life.

At Hazlehurst High School, Mary played clarinet in the band and was Salutatorian of her graduating class.   In 1949, Mary graduated from Copiah-Lincoln Junior College where she was elected Most Intellectual Girl and played clarinet in the band. On August 28, 1949, she married Elton Putnam and they lived in Starkville while Elton completed his degree from Mississippi State University.  They moved to Tylertown in 1950 where they later became parents to two sons, Curtis and Keith. 

In 1965, the family made Tupelo home. Mary soon became the church secretary at First Baptist Church.  At First Baptist Church, Mary served in many capacities where she saw a need.   Some of these roles were Sunday school teacher and Department Director, building and personnel committees; as well as, serving on multiple ministerial search committees.   Her love for the Lord was evident in her many acts of sacrificial service. 

 Mary was employed as a stenographer at the Mississippi Employment Security Commission from 1966 until her retirement in 1989 as manager of the Tupelo Claims Center. Her retirement was brightened by the birth of two grandchildren, Shannon Leeann Putnam and Nicholas Lee Putnam.  

 To best summarize Mary’s life, she loved her Lord, His Church, her family, and Mississippi State University.  

 She is survived by her grandchildren, Shannon and Nicholas; her daughter-in-law, Linda Putnam; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and countless friends, and neighbors.  

Mary was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Elton Putnam; two sons, Curtis Lee Putnam and James Keith Putnam; daughter-in-law, Donna Putnam; and three brothers, Charles Cliburn, James Cliburn and Cecil Cliburn. 

 Visitation will be held from 10 a.m. until service time at First Baptist Church, Tupelo. 

 Services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday, January 24, 2024, at First Baptist Church, Tupelo with Rev. Gayle Alexander and Rev. Matt Powell officiating. Graveside services will follow at Tupelo Memorial Park. Pegues Funeral Directors is in charge of the arrangements.  

Pallbearers will be Rodger Brown, Jonathan Chaney, Phil Daughdrill, Jack McFerrin, and Barry Turner. 

 Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church Tupelo Missions, or Mark of Faith Campaign, 300 North Church Street, Tupelo, MS  38801.

 Special thanks to her sitters, Ann Crockett, Shonda Hampton, and Eva Townsend; as well as, Sanctuary Hospice nurses and caregivers, Kendra Gray, Adrianna Augustine, Tan Macon, and Callie Emmons.

 Expressions of sympathy and fond memories may be made at

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Service Schedule

Past Services


Monday, January 15, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Central time)

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Funeral Service

Monday, January 15, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

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