John Marks Templeton, born on November 29, 1912, in the small town of Winchester in rural Tennessee, was not only an outstanding stock market guru but also a remarkable philanthropist and dedicated Presbyterian.
Background and Education: In his youth, Templeton became the first person from Winchester to study at Yale University, graduating with honors in economics in 1934. Subsequently, the Rhodes Scholarship enabled him to pursue a law degree at the University of Oxford, which he completed in 1936 with a master’s degree.
Career as a Fund Manager: In 1954, Templeton founded the fund company “Templeton Funds” and launched the “Templeton Growth Fund,” which was among the first funds to broadly invest in international stocks. In 1992, he sold the fund company to the Franklin Group but continued as a fund manager until 1996. The “Templeton Growth Fund” achieved an average annual return of 14.5 percent from 1954 to 1992.
British Citizenship: In 1968, Templeton moved to the Bahamas to save on taxes, relinquishing his U.S. passport. This decision allowed him to distance himself from the “mass mentality” of Wall Street and disregard tax considerations in his investment decisions.
Presbyterianism: Templeton was a lifelong devout Presbyterian, serving as an elder at the First Presbyterian Church of Englewood. He supported the Princeton Theological Seminary as a trustee and chairman.
Philanthropy: As a passionate philanthropist, Templeton established the “Templeton Prize for Progress Toward Research or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities.” First awarded in 1972, this prize is considered one of the most highly endowed awards worldwide. Templeton also founded the “John Templeton Foundation,” dedicated to fostering the exchange between science and religion.
Family Life and Legacy: Templeton was married twice and left an impressive legacy upon his death on July 8, 2008, at the age of 95. His son, John Marks Templeton Jr., currently leads the John Templeton Foundation. Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1987, Templeton was listed in the “Time Magazine” among the hundred most influential “Power Givers” in 2007.