The first report we got was swollen sinuses. Then it was a blood clot. By the time she got to Methodist Hospital in Memphis, it was a brain aneurysm. The doctors did everything they could, but the bleeding wouldn’t stop, and Judy died in surgery early Sunday morning.
I cannot begin to tell you how much we will miss Judy Putt at the Journal, both personally and professionally. She was the most detailed, organized person I’ve ever known – she was always leaving herself yellow sticky notes – and her creativity showed on the Food, Health, Home & Garden, and Living pages she designed.
She had the kindest, gentlest soul and an unforgettable laugh. Not a day went by that she didn’t tell a funny story about her husband, Jerry, or a sibling or her nephew, Chris, or one of her animals. Lord, she loved her animals. We used to joke that if we came back in another life, we’d want to come back as one of Judy Putt’s dogs!
Judy loved to cook and she was always trying new recipes. Many are the times I’ve shared lunch in the breakroom with Putt – that’s what a lot of us called her – and talked about what we cooked the night before, what we were going to cook that weekend or what we’d cooked that we would never, ever try again.
She was known at the Journal for one particular dish she made for two special occasions: general election night and Christmas snack day. It’s a spicy chili cheese dip Putt called LBJ Dip. And as editorial page editor Joe Rutherford reminded me, it’s the only spicy thing she ever made for us because she generally didn’t enjoy spicy food. I don’t know if I ever had the recipe, so former Journalite Beth Bunch emailed it to me.
Judy always tripled the recipe and brought the dip in a big Crock-Pot with bags of Fritos Scoops. It never lasted very long.
But her legacy will.
Putt’s LBJ Dip
1 pound hot sausage
1 can chili without beans
1 pound Velveeta, cubed
In a large skillet, cook the sausage until browned and drain off grease. Add the chili and the cheese and cook until cheese has melted. Transfer to a Crock-Pot to keep warm. Serve with Fritos Scoops.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.