Helmut Putler Obituary, Death – This morning, the world lost Helmut Putler. I can’t think of anything to say. All morning and afternoon, I have been reflecting on Helmut and the great times we shared when he was a member of the band. For a long time, Helmut was our go-to saxophonist. Without a doubt, it will take at least 15 years. The band could need some sunshine, and his smile and laughter would provide just that. His standard warm-up routine included playing the clarinet and tenor saxophone. which was followed by Paul’s announcement that “Helmut’s here!” and heard by the entire band.
Helmut’s upbeat demeanor was ever there, whether he was singing “Tanta Anna” or drinking from the tiny “snitzer” bottle he kept under his stand. Years ago, when my dad was still playing drums in the band, Helmut would often fill in for him. The Elms Ballroom in Syracuse was his first professional gig with us. I used to constantly make a joke on the podium about how the ballroom burned down out of admiration for Helmut’s first work. And of course, every time I introduced Helmut on the mic, I’d pick a random number, like 279, and announce, “How about a big round of applause for our third alto player who just celebrated his 279th birthday, Helmut Putler!” Which would make him chuckle, get to his feet, and start waving to the throng.
There are so many joyful recollections to recall. Helmut is extremely unlikely to ever be unemployed. Except for when he went on a family vacation, had surgery, or went through chemo a few years ago. The term “Mr. Reliable” was coined for him. Through his music, he brought so much happiness to others’ lives. Our hearts go out to his wife, kids, and grandkids. We will miss Helmut terribly. He was more than just a talented musician; he was a loyal companion.
I’d want to end this post with a statement that, to me, says it all. Helmut used to take the microphone at the end of every performance of our theme song “We’ll Meet Again” and sing the final verse. I can almost make out his voice singing, “We’ll meet again. Confused as to where. Not sure when. But I know that some bright day we will meet again!” Helmut, till we meet again. I pray that you find great joy in your eternal reward. Reminisce with us over the years with these photos honoring Helmut.