Kenneth Elwood Templin was born Jan. 26, 1927, to Otto and Mary Graff Templin on a small farm south of Mason City, in Custer County. Growing up on the family farm, Ken learned how to care for livestock, drive a team of horses, operate a tractor and work hard. He was active in 4-H, was captain of the Mason City High School football and basketball teams and graduated Valedictorian of the class of 1945.
Enlisting in the US Army upon graduation, Ken was assigned to the Mounted Cavalry of the 14th Battalion and served as part of the occupation forces in Japan through 1946. Ken also served for a short period during the Korean War, receiving an honorable discharge as master sargeant, October 1951.
Upon returning to Nebraska after WWII, Ken graduated with a bachelor of science degree in business administration from the University of Nebraska, class of 1950. Ken met Elaine Ressel from O'Neill, who was attending the Bryan Memorial School of Nursing in Lincoln.
"I met Elaine on the second floor of the rooming house where we were staying while attending the University of Nebraska. The boys stayed on the third floor, while the girls stayed on the second. Elaine had a date that night and knew that she would be staying out after curfew, so she made arrangements to sleep over with one of her girlfriends. We were on the second floor playing cards with some girls when she came in from her date. It was Saturday night and the next day I invited her to church at the First Christian. It changed my life."
Ken and Elaine married in 1951, moving to Detroit to obtain his MBA from Wayne State University and start a career in automotive manufacturing management that would include working for Ford Motors, Chrysler and Chrysler Marine. During this time, Ken and Elaine had five children: Steven, David, Daniel, Benjamin and Elizabeth.
In 1970, Ken moved his family to Minnesota to become General Manager of Brown & Bigelow in St Paul. For the next 27 years Ken was active in the paper products industry. His career included senior management positions as senior VP Standard Packaging, exec. VP Saxon Industries, and Alco Standard. Upon leaving Alco, Ken was President/CEO of Quality Park Envelope Company in St Paul.
In retirement, Ken continued to be active in many venues, believing that the purpose of life is to do something good that helps others. Using his experience and expertise, Ken joined SCORE and counseled young entrepreneurs locally, nationally and in the global market. As a SCORE counselor Ken assisted dozens in starting and growing their businesses. He looked forward to daily answering the steady flow of emails from new and on-going clients.
"I retired at age 70. I thought about what I could do next. So, I turned to volunteer work. I joined the boards of West Hennipen Counseling Service, a drug counseling and rehabilitation clinic for young men. I worked with the Brain Injury Association, and the Hennipen History Museum. I joined SCORE and the International Executive Service Corps. Two places I went to on assignment were Russia and the Republic of Georgia with IESC. Both were interesting and complex projects, helping people with desires like mine, trying to do something to help themselves and their families. My volunteer work gave me an opportunity to give back to the country that had been so kind to me."
One of Ken's passions in retirement was working with the University of Minnesota's English as a Second Language program for the Twin Cities community. Ken specialized in working with immigrants from the Baltics and Middle East. Ken also did work with Meals on Wheels, and Minneapolis Junior Achievement.
Ken believed in giving 100 percent, doing the right thing, persevering through difficulties and finishing what he started. He respected people who worked hard and considered it a high calling to trust and treat people fairly. He stood up for what he believed, but was there to work with those who believed differently.
Ken saw life as a series of lessons, which if you paid attention would teach you how to serve God, love and provide for your family, and live peaceably with your fellow man. In life he was a captain, a champion, a warrior.
Ken is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Elaine; children and family, Steven K. Templin and wife Celia Jones of Boyce, La, David S. Templin and wife Marilyn of Charlotte, NC, Daniel E. Templin and wife Kathy of Danville, Calif, Benjamin A. Templin of San Diego, Calif, and Elizabeth and her husband Jeff Horowitz of Warren, NJ. Ken's grandchildren include Sarah and her husband Bruce Willen, Megan, Kyle, Andrea and her husband Jimmy Rhinehart, Tara, Abigail, Allison and Justin.
A service will be Saturday, July 16, at 2 p.m. at the Carriage Club in Charlotte, NC. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Charlotte Hospice at 1420 East 7th St, Charlotte, NC 28204. J.B. Tallent Funeral Service is assisting the family.
Published in Custer County Chief, July 14, 2011