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Obituaries » Lawrence H. Templin

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Lawrence H. Templin

April 4, 1922 - July 5, 2022

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, September 16, 2022 at the First Mennonite Church in Bluffton.

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Lawrence Howard Templin, age 100, of Bluffton died July 5, 2022 at home. Lawrence was born April 4, 1922, in East Weymouth, MA to Ralph and Lila Horton Templin. On June 4, 1947, he married Orletta Warkentin, who preceded him in death on May 13, 2015, following nearly 68 years of marriage.
Lawrence spent most of his childhood in India, where his parents were missionaries for the United Methodist Church. He graduated from Woodstock School, an international boarding school in the foothills of the Himalayas, in 1940. While his parents were on furlough in the U.S. in 1932-34, he spent one year at Lincoln School in New York City, a private experimental school associated with Columbia University, and one year at public school in Ann Arbor. Returning to the U.S. after his high school graduation, Lawrence attended Southwestern College in Winfield, KS for one year, transferring to Bethel College in North Newton, KS the following year. During World War II he was a conscientious objector, and after the war he returned to Bethel, graduating with a degree in Social Science in 1948.
Following college graduation, Lawrence and Orletta moved from Kansas to Ohio, joining Lawrence’s parents at Glen Homestead in Yellow Springs, an experiment in sustainable community living on land owned by Antioch College. There they welcomed their first-born child, daughter Sara, who was joined later by a son, John, and a second daughter, Mary. While living in Yellow Springs, Lawrence worked as a printer at the Antioch Bookplate Company for eight years. Wanting to further his education, in 1956 he and the family moved to Bloomington, IN where Lawrence enrolled in a doctoral program in English at Indiana University. In addition to this making him a lifelong Hoosier basketball fan, he became a George Eliot scholar, writing a dissertation on her use of omniscient point of view. He received his Ph.D. in English at the age of 42 and started a new career as a college professor.
In 1961, three years before actually receiving his doctoral degree, Lawrence was hired by Bluffton College to teach in its English Department. He would end up spending his entire career at Bluffton, teaching College English, Shakespeare, British and American literature survey courses, Creative Writing, and many other subjects. A favorite course for both Lawrence and his students was one he titled Enchantment of India, in which he drew on childhood experiences in teaching the literature and culture of India. He retired from Bluffton College in 1984, but continued to teach occasionally for the next few years. Two highlights of Lawrence’s academic career were sabbaticals that he took in 1972 and 1980 to travel and do research in England, accompanied by his family. His research in the British Library centered on the responses of late-19th century English intellectuals to their nation’s imperialism.
In addition to being a caring teacher, Lawrence was an expert gardener and was well-known within his family for his ingenuity and ability to fix things. His children and grandchildren will always remember him for his organization and leadership of countless camping adventures. In later years, he spent many hours writing – memoirs, essays, stories, and hundreds of poems. His collection of poetry, Adagio, was brought into print by his children as a Father’s Day gift.
Lawrence is survived by three children, Sara (Baldemar) Velasquez of Toledo, John Templin of Bluffton, Mary (Douglas Swiatecki) Templin of Holland, OH; four grandchildren, Satya (Jon) Curry, Christiana (Aaron) Wagner, Aron (Jennifer) Velasquez, Elizabeth (Frank) Julian; and nine great-grandchildren, Benjamin Curry, Grace Velasquez, Rachel Curry, Mia Velasquez, Lydia Velasquez, Francesco Julian, Nora Velasquez, Mark Wagner, and Carmela Julian.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, September 16, 2022 at the First Mennonite Church in Bluffton.
Memorial contributions may be made to the campaign for Migrant Worker Justice or the Mennonite Central Committee.
Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.chiles-lamanfh.com.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Chiles-Laman Funeral & Cremation Services, Bluffton.


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