Henry Thomas “Tom” Temple was born March 31, 1947 in Ponca City, OK, the fifth, youngest, and most pampered child of William Franklin and Sarah Thomas Temple. He grew up in Tulsa and attended St. Francis de Sales Seminary in high school and college. He died unexpectedly on August 19, 2023 in Oklahoma City of a bleed on the brain.
Tom spent many years figuring out what he was going to do when he grew up, 76 years to be exact. Along the way, he engaged in many noble pursuits which included goat farming, gardening, introducing his son, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends to the thrill of a roller coaster, water skiing, snow sledding, volunteering, and thumbing his way around the world. Tom embraced life and always lived it to the fullest, with a twinkle in his eye and a (sometimes cringe worthy) pun on his lips. Tom’s most successful and rewarding pastime was as a talented carpenter, designer, and builder (see www.ttemple.com). In his younger years, he spent time living in the polar opposites of New York City and Peabody, KS, before finally settling down in Oklahoma City (although I don’t think his heart ever left Peabody). He never did decide what he was going to do when he grew up, but he had a lot of fun trying out his options.
Tom’s greatest legacy is the example he set for all of us to do no harm. He championed sustainability both in his relationships with those around him and in his ecological awareness. He was a walker, a swimmer, a singer, a guitar player, a designer, a builder, a fixer, a friend, a lover, a reader, a father, a grandfather (Papa), a traveler, an artist, a listener. He approached life with compassion, and was always calm, sturdy, and reliable in everything he did. He was thoughtful, speaking only after thinking about what he was going to say. It was usually worth listening to. He could fix anything, including people, with his problem-solving skills, patience, and love. He was fair, nonjudgmental, and loyal.
Tom was on the board of PAMBE Ghana, a local non-profit supporting a school in northern Ghana. Their mission is to provide a model of quality basic education that integrates language, culture, literacy and academic excellence. He had hoped to visit the school next year. He also served on the board of Green Connections (www.greenconnections.org), whose mission is to provide programs focused on education about ecology, peace, and justice for the purpose of empowerment of oppressed communities and protection of the Earth. He enjoyed singing in several Taize groups over the years, led by Mary Reynolds.
He is survived by Linda, his wife of 54 years, of Oklahoma City; his son Blaise, daughter-in-law Melissa, and grandchildren Nicola (16) and Quinn (14) of London, UK; sister Faith St. Marie, sister-in-law Carol Fields and her family; brother-in-law Michael Glassner and his family; too many cousins, nephews, and nieces to count, and an amazing, eclectic collection of friends.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to PAMBE Ghana, online (www.pambeghana.org), or at PAMBE Ghana, P.O. Box 18813, Oklahoma City, OK 73154-8813. Alternately, consider paying your experience with Tom forward. Help a friend. Support a cause you believe in.