Saugerties man killed by falling branch

A Saugerties man was fatally struck outside his home by a tree branch cut by a Central Hudson contractor on the afternoon of June 5, according to town police. Myles Putman, 60, of 107 Mount Airy Road was hit at 2:04 p.m. while checking on the progress of branch-clearing workers from the Allentown, Pa.-based company Jaflo, which clears brush between power lines for Central Hudson.

“Our preliminary investigation shows that all safety protocols were followed by our contractor,” said Central Hudson press representative John Maserjian. “This is an ongoing investigation and we are cooperating with the local police department.” Maserjian said Putman was notified of the company’s actions that day before workers began.

According to Police Chief Joseph Sinagra, the branch that hit Putman was about five inches in diameter. Diaz paramedics and members of the Centerville/Cedar Grove Fire Department responded to the scene. Putman was airlifted by Lifenet to Albany Medical Center. At approximately 8 p.m., Putman succumbed to his injuries during emergency surgery, Sinagra said.


“We are still currently investigating the incident, but at this time it seems to be an unfortunate accident with no criminal intent,” said Police Chief Sinagra.

Putnam was a planner for the Town of Saugerties through Shuster and Associates and for neighboring Ulster County communities including Esopus, according to Town Supervisor Fred Costello.

“He had that energy and that passion about our community and the communities he worked for,” said Costello. “He was good at finding a balance between economic goals, life goals and preservation goals. I’ve never seen someone balance those things together. Those interests sometimes are competing, and he was very good at making those things mesh. It was comforting to know that we had him as a resource if we had questions.”

Costello said that he had known Putman for over 20 years.

He was also a member of the town’s Historic Preservation Commission; most recently, he and the commission advocated for the historic designation of Saugerties’ Asbury Hamlet.

“Miles was a very kind person,” said Village Historian Marjorie Block. “As far as the [Historical] Society is concerned, he was an expert with maps — he knew every road in Saugerties.”

“I’m not at liberty to discuss what happened yesterday — it would be a bit irresponsible if I commented on anything without the investigation being completed,” said Jaflo Human Resources Director James Sullivan. “On behalf of the company, we’re absolutely devastated by what happened yesterday. There is an active investigation to find out what happened. All the employees in the entire company are quite shock and upset about it.”

Maserjian expressed similar sentiments, conveying condolences to the Putman family.

There are 3 comments

  1. Judith Spektor

    The important thing is not how he died–despite the shock of his loss, but rather who Myles Putman was and his great contributions to Saugerties. He was the go-to person for all things about roads, geography, maps, and rational smart planning.

    He was a tremendous resource and gave back a lot to the community.

    He also was musical and sang in Ars Choralis. Ars Choralis is giving a concert Sunday, Bernstein Remembered, at the Woodstock Jewish Congregation. I am sure that his musical colleagues will be singing in tribute to Myles.

  2. Michael Sullivan Smith

    We’re only beginning to realize what a resource Myles Putman was as his loss sinks in. I’ve know Myles since Saugerties Concerned Citizens days thirty or more years ago. The word “concerned” to Myles meant knowing the law and why it was written. Myles was a complete professional involved in every planning process of the Town and Village from their waterfront up through the mountains. He never tired of the passion for including knowledge of the past in our commitment to the future. He was a long-serving member of the Historic Preservation Commission and for the four years it has existed has served on the steering committee that organizes the talks at the library as the Friends of Historic Saugerties. We met nearly every week as part of a core of volunteer researchers for The Lamb Center known as The History Whisperers. His last contribution to the Commission was to design the course and map of the bus tour done in mid May. He was working on a Friends talk for August on the adjacent residences along the path of “the state road” in Saugerties Village as the streets were improved for the automobile between 1901 and 1915. His vision of that will now sadly not be shared. Myles enriched us so much over the years, and it is our expectations and reliance on that that will be missed. But this is going to keep his memory with us for a long time to come, just because what he gave is irreplaceable. May he rest in peace.

  3. gerald berke

    I am grateful for the words remembering and praising Myles Putman and for the Saugerties community that celebrates Myles.
    As it should be.
    Thank you.

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