In Memorium: Dr. John M. Templeton

Member Group : Guest Articles

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

It is with great sadness that we announce that John M. Templeton, Jr., M.D., president and chairman of the John Templeton Foundation, passed away Saturday, May 16, at his home in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Dr. Templeton was 75 years old at the time of his passing, finally succumbing to his battle with cancer.

Dr. Templeton, known as "Jack," retired from medicine in 1995 to assume leadership of his father’s namesake foundation, the John Templeton Foundation.

The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries on what scientists and philosophers call the big questions of human purpose and ultimate reality, a vision derived from Sir John Templeton’s optimism about the possibility of acquiring "new spiritual information" and from his commitment to rigorous scientific research and related scholarship.

The Foundation’s primary funding areas include science and the big questions, character and virtue development, individual freedom and free enterprise, genetics, exceptional cognitive talent and genius, and the Templeton Prize. Recent grants have explored topics such as gratitude, beneficial purpose, exoplanets, and religious liberty.

During Dr. Templeton’s 20 years at the helm of the Foundation, the endowment grew from $28 million to $3.34 billion, with 188 grants awarded in 2014 primarily to major universities and scholars worldwide. A total of $966 million in grants and charitable activities have been funded since the Foundation’s creation in 1987. It awarded $103 million in 2013, the last year for which figures are available, which ranked it 55th in total giving of U.S. foundations, according to the Foundation Center.

Dr. Templeton is survived by his wife, Pina, who retired from Children’s Hospital in 1999, their daughters Heather Dill and Jennifer Simpson, sons-in-law Jeff Dill and Scott Simpson, six grandchildren, a brother, Christopher, and a brother-in-law, Gail Zimmerman. His sister, Anne Zimmerman, died in 2004.

A private family funeral service will be held in Winchester, Tennessee, to be followed later by a memorial service in Pennsylvania.

Visitation will be on Wednesday, May 27 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM at:
Chadwick and McKinney Funeral Home
30 East Athens Avenue
Ardmore, PA 19003

The Templeton family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the:
American Trauma Society, PA Division
2 Flowers Drive
Mechanicsburg, PA 17050

About his life:
Born February 19, 1940 in New York City, John Marks Templeton, Jr. was the eldest of John Marks Templeton’s three children. Raised in Englewood, New Jersey, where his family lived, he spent many summers in Winchester, Tennessee, the birthplace of his father and where most of his extended family still lives. As a young boy he attended Englewood public schools, the George School, a Quaker institution in Newtown, Pennsylvania, and received a B.A. in history from Yale University in 1962. He began considering a career in medicine during a summer internship in 1960 at a Presbyterian medical mission in Cameroon. He received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1968 and completed his internship and residency in surgery at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond in 1973.

During his time at the Medical College of Virginia he met Josephine Gargiulo, known as "Pina," who was training as a pediatric anesthesiologist. They married in 1970.

He subsequently trained in pediatric surgery at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia from 1973 to 1975 under the hospital’s surgeon-in-chief, Dr. C. Everett Koop, who later became U.S. Surgeon General from 1982 to 1989. After two years as a physician in the U.S. Navy, he returned to Children’s Hospital in 1977 where he served as a pediatric surgeon and director of the trauma program. Later, he became professor of pediatric surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. After retiring in 1995 he continued to serve as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

Accolades and affiliations:
Dr. Templeton was board certified in pediatric surgery and surgical critical care and was a fellow of the American College of Surgeon. He served as vice chairman of the American Trauma Society and was a president of its Pennsylvania division. He served on various boards including the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Foreign Policy Research Institute, American Trauma Society, National Bible Association, and Templeton Growth Fund, Ltd. He published dozens of papers in medical and professional journals, in addition to two books, Thrift and Generosity: The Joy of Giving (2004), and an autobiography, John M. Templeton, Jr.: Physician, Philanthropist, Seeker (2008).

He was the recipient of numerous awards including the National Courage of Belief Award from the American Jewish Committee in 2010, the Heroes of Liberty Award (jointly with his wife) from the National Liberty Museum in 2006, and honorary doctorate degrees from Buena Vista University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Alvernia College. He was a member of Proclamation Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr since its founding in 1989.

In memoriam:
"Jack loved medicine for many reasons, but one is that it teaches us to look for what is absolutely essential, and to separate the essential from the trivial," notes Dr. John Schott, a medical school classmate and former trustee of the Foundation. "Jack never lost his compassion, never objectified the patient. You have to make life and death decisions within a short period of time and often without enough information. That’s why medicine is a calling, and not just a job. And Jack’s seeking nature, his interest in purpose, his grappling with the big questions—all made him a superb doctor and made him the best possible head of the Foundation."

"I’ll always remember him as a doctor," says his daughter Jennifer Templeton Simpson. "His being a doctor influenced everything—the way he viewed things, the way he handled problems, the way he asked a lot of questions before he said anything. He never gave up when he didn’t have an answer."

Kindest regards,

Communications and Public Affairs Department
John Templeton Foundation