William Henry "Bill" Putegnat, III, died in Brownville on June 19, 2015, at the age of 98. Born in Brownville in 1917, Bill was a member of a pioneer Brownsville family that settled here in the late 1840's. Orphaned before age 2 by his parents' early death during the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918, he along with his twin brother Barry and sister Jennie, were moved to San Antonio, Texas, where they lived with their grandmother until returning to Brownsville in 1932.
Bill attended St. Joseph Academy and graduated from Brownville High School, where he was active in football and track competitions. During the Great Depression, Bill attended Texas Southmost College and earned his Associates Degree in 1938, attending in alternating years with his brother while both worked building the family business, Model Laundry and Dry Cleaning Company, one of several enterprises founded by his father in 1906.
During World War II, he served honorably in the U.S. Air Force. Upon completion of this military service, he continued in the family business, which expanded through the Southwest.
Mr. Putegnat was a devout Roman Catholic, committed to acts of kindness to many in Brownsville and Northern Mexico, and his support for Our Lady of Perpetual Help Nursing Home, Sacred Heart Church, and the Immaculate Conception Cathedral. Bill loved competitive sports and was an avid skier and tennis player, even very late in life. Bill will be remembered by his many friends and loving family for his kindness, generosity, enthusiasm, optimism, love of life and good humor.
Bill is preceded in death by his first wife, Laura Youree Putegnat; a sister, Jennie Harford, and his twin brother, Barry Putegnat.
Bill is survived by his wife, Juanita Gonzalez Putegnat; his six children from his first marriage: William H. "Billy" Putegnat, IV, Michael (Starr) Putegnat, Christopher, Laurita, Mary, and Deborah (Tom Kirk) Putegnat; his four step-children: Manuel Gonzalez, Sandra (Greg) Estes, Patricia Gonzalez, and Juan Carlos Gonzalez. Bill is also survived by 13 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces, nephews, friends, and other extended family members.
Visitation and a rosary service were held Friday, June 19, 2015 at Darling-Mouser Funeral Home. The Funeral Mass will be at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, June 20th at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, 1218 E. Jefferson St. Committal services will follow at Buena Vista Burial Park. Military honors will be conducted by Mr. Luis Lucio and the VFW Post 2035 at the graveside.
In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in Bill's name may be made to the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, 1218 E. Jefferson St., Brownsville, Texas 78520.