Sir John Templeton

Is your surname Templeton?

Research the Templeton family

Sir John Templeton's Geni Profile

Share your family tree and photos with the people you know and love

  • Build your family tree online
  • Share photos and videos
  • Smart Matching™ technology
  • Free!


John Marks Templeton

Birthdate: (95)
Birthplace: Winchester, Tennessee, United States
Death: Died in Nassau, New Providence District, Bahamas
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Place of Burial: Nassau, New Providence District, Bahamas
Immediate Family:

Son of Harvey Maxwell Templeton, Sr. and Novella "Vella" Handly
Husband of Irene Reynolds Butler and Judith Dudley Templeton
Father of <private> Templeton

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
view all

Immediate Family

About Sir John Templeton

Sir John Marks Templeton (November 29, 1912 – July 8, 2008) was an American-born British stock investor, businessman and philanthropist.


John Marks Templeton was an investor and mutual fund pioneer. He was born in the town of Winchester, Tennessee, and attended Yale University and was selected for membership in the Elihu society. He financed a portion of his tuition by playing poker, a game at which he excelled. He graduated in 1934 near the top of his class. He attended Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and earned an M.A. in law.

Templeton married Judith Folk in 1937, and the couple had three children: John Jr., Anne, and Christopher. Judith died in February 1951 in a motorbike accident. He remarried, to Irene Reynolds Butler in 1958; she died in 1993.

He was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church. He served as an elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Englewood (NJ). He was a trustee on the board of Princeton Theological Seminary, the largest Presbyterian seminary, for 42 years and served as its chair for 12 years.

Templeton became a billionaire by pioneering the use of globally diversified mutual funds. His Templeton Growth Fund, Ltd. (investment fund), established in 1954, was among the first who invested in Japan in the middle of the 1960s. He is noted for, during the Depression of the 1930s, buying 100 shares of each NYSE listed company which was then selling for less than $1 a share ($17 today) (104 companies, in 1939), later making many times the money back when USA industry picked up as a result of World War II.

In 2006 he was listed in a seven-way tie for 129th place on the Sunday Times's "Rich List". He rejected technical analysis for stock trading, preferring instead to use fundamental analysis. Money magazine in 1999 called him "arguably the greatest global stock picker of the century".

Templeton was one of the most generous philanthropists in history, giving away over $1 billion to charitable causes. Templeton renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1964, thus allowing him to channel an additional $100 million that he would have paid in U.S. income taxes when he sold his international investment fund, toward philanthropy. He had dual naturalized Bahamian and British citizenship and lived in the Bahamas.


As a philanthropist, Templeton established

the John Templeton Foundation;

the Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries about Spiritual Realities in 1972;

the Templeton Library in Sewanee, Tennessee;

the Templeton College of the University of Oxford (by endowing the Oxford Centre for Management Studies to become a full college of the university having as a focus business and management studies).

Templeton College is now closely associated with Oxford's Saïd Business School. In 2007, Templeton College transferred its executive education program to Saïd Business School. In 2008, Templeton College merged with Green College to form Green Templeton College. This is one of the exceptional mergers in recent history of the University of Oxford.

He was created a Knight Bachelor in 1987 for his philanthropic efforts. Templeton was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1996, and in 2003 awarded the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership.

His philanthropic activities had been estimated at over 1 billion US dollars in total.


In 2007, Templeton was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People (Time 100) under the category of "Power Givers." Templeton was given this honor for his "pursuit of spiritual understanding, often through scientific research" through his establishment of the John Templeton Foundation.

Templeton attributed much of his success to his ability to maintain an elevated mood, avoid anxiety and stay disciplined. Uninterested in consumerism, he drove his own car, never flew first class and lived year-round in the Bahamas.

Templeton became known for his "avoiding the herd" and "buy when there's blood in the streets" philosophy. He also was known for taking profits when values and expectations were high.

Templeton was a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter-holder. He received AIMR's first award for professional excellence in 1991.

In 2005, he wrote a brief memorandum predicting that within five years there would be financial chaos in the world. It was eventually made public in 2010.

Spirituality and the Templeton Foundation

Main article: John Templeton Foundation

As a member of the Presbyterian Church, Templeton was dedicated to his faith. However, Templeton eschewed dogma and declared relatively little was known about the divine through scripture, espousing what he called a "humble approach" to theology and remaining open to the benefits and values of other faiths. Commenting on his commitment to what he called spiritual progress, "But why shouldn't I try to learn more? Why shouldn't I go to Hindu services? Why shouldn't I go to Muslim services? If you are not egotistical, you will welcome the opportunity to learn more."[19] Similarly, one of the major goals of the Templeton Foundation is to proliferate the monetary support of spiritual discoveries. The Templeton Foundation encourages research into "big questions" by awarding philanthropic aid to institutions and people who pursue the answers to such questions through "explorations into the laws of nature and the universe, to questions on the nature of love, gratitude, forgiveness, and creativity."

Templeton asserts that the purpose of the Templeton Foundation is as follows:

We are trying to persuade people that no human has yet grasped 1% of what can be known about spiritual realities. So we are encouraging people to start using the same methods of science that have been so productive in other areas, in order to discover spiritual realities.

—Sir John Templeton, Interview with Financial Intelligence Report


On July 8, 2008, Templeton died at Doctors Hospital in Nassau, Bahamas, of pneumonia at 12:20 local time. He was 95.

Selected publications

view all

Sir John Templeton's Timeline

November 29, 1912
Winchester, Tennessee, United States
July 8, 2008
Age 95
Nassau, New Providence District, Bahamas
Nassau, New Providence District, Bahamas