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UTEP professor dies days after 30-foot fall in the Franklins

A longtime UTEP associate accounting professor, and one of El Paso’s most avid hikers, has died.

Karl Putnam was critically injured following a 30-foot fall in the Franklin mountains earlier this month.

Some friends ABC-7 spoke with about Putnam Thursday referred to Putnam, who made more than 300 scheduled hikes in the Franklins, as the “God of our mountains.”

Putnam had been in a coma at University Medical Center for 10 days before he was removed from life support on Tuesday.

Putnam, 69, was rescued from Red Rock Canyon in the Franklin mountains on July 2. He had taken more than 30 hikers with his El Paso Hiking Group up the mountain that day.

Fellow hikers told ABC-7 they were taking a group picture when Putnam passed out due to a medical condition, hit his head and fell 30 feet.

Former City Rep. Jim Tolbert, a longtime friend of Putnam, told ABC-7 there was no one more passionate about hiking the mountains than Putnam, who he said knew more about them than anyone.

“Karl just really liked people and wanted people to get out and he wanted to get people outside, outdoors and he wanted them to have fun in the mountains,” Tolbert said. “I really think that was more than anything else the reason why he did so much of what he did.”

UTEP released this statement: “We are deeply saddened by the death of Karl Putnam, one of our longtime accounting faculty members. He dedicated more than 30 years in the College of Business Administration to educating the students of this region, and he will be missed by the UTEP community. We express our sympathy to his family and friends at this difficult time.”

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