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May 20, 2015

May 20, 2015 | News Releases on

Heritage Mourns Loss of Jack Templeton

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2015—Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint and Heritage Founder Edwin J. Feulner today issued the following statement on the death of philanthropist John M. Templeton, M.D.:

We learned last night of the death of Jack Templeton, a truly great man. He excelled in his chosen professional field—pediatric surgery—then capped that outstanding career by moving full-time into philanthropic endeavors.  There, he excelled again, building the John Templeton Foundation into a mighty force for good throughout the world. Under his leadership, the foundation’s endowment grew from $28 million to $3.34 billion, and its grants grew as well, sparking progress by rewarding programs that are making positive change around the globe.

Jack was an indefatigable champion of free enterprise and a staunch defender of religious liberty—causes that have found a stalwart friend in the John Templeton Foundation. He also had an intense interest in national security issues and for the welfare of the nation’s warriors.  His compassion for the latter was doubtless informed by his service as a Navy surgeon early in his career.

For all of his accomplishments, what we remember most about Jack Templeton is his constant search for knowledge, for true insights into what makes people—and the institutions they form—tick.  He was always asking questions.  Big questions. You could go into a meeting with him, thinking you were going to discuss one of your projects, and he’d open the discussion by asking, “Are humans inherently good?”

The verdict may be out on all humans.  But Jack Templeton was inherently good.  Just as important, he was heavily engaged with organizations dedicated to serving others and improving the lot of humankind. He served as vice chairman of both the American Trauma Society and the Foreign Policy Research Institute and held board positions with numerous organizations including the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the National Bible Association.

His lasting legacy, of course, is building The John Templeton Foundation into a powerhouse of philanthropy. Its motto—“How little we know, how eager to learn”—was his as well. 

Our prayers and very best thoughts are with his family today, and in the future, as they continue to build upon his legacy at the Foundation.

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