The History Center uses exhibits, both on-site and on-line, to showcase some of our vast collections of documents and photographs.

Buddy Temple: An East Texas Life

Buddy Temple: An East Texas Life

The History Center staff was saddened by the death of our friend and supporter Buddy Temple on April 14, 2015.  The photos in this exhibit show all of his sides - child, son, brother, husband, father, grandfather, businessman, politician, conservationist, musician, and proud East Texan. 

Arthur “Buddy” Temple III was born on February 26, 1942 in Texarkana, Arkansas, the son of Arthur Temple, Jr. and Mary Denman.  A 1960 graduate of The Lawrenceville School in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, he attended the University of Texas before serving two years in the U.S. Army as a helicopter crew chief and co-pilot in the First Cavalry Unit of the First Armored Division. Temple then joined the family business working for Temple Industries. 

Buddy began his public service career in April 1966 with his election to the Diboll School Board, where he was involved in the racial integration of the schools. From 1973 to 1981 he represented District 6 in the Texas House of Representatives, where he served on many committees and was part of the 1974 Constitutional Convention. At this time District 6 consisted of Angelina, Newton, Shelby, and San Augustine counties. As a legislator, Temple was deeply involved as a co-sponsor of the 1973 State Code of Ethics and Financial Disclosure for Elected and Appointed Officials, a response to the Sharpstown banking scandal of 1971.  From January 1981 to March 1986 Temple served on the Texas Railroad Commission, where he was also the chairman from 1985-1986. Temple ran for Governor of Texas in 1982, but conceded the Democratic nomination to opponent Mark White after the primary election.

Temple’s business interests were extensive. Some highlights include Member of the Board of Directors of Temple-Eastex and Temple-Inland; Vice President, President, and Chairman of the Board of Exeter Investment Company; and Chairman of the Board of First Bank and Trust, East Texas.  He also served on the boards of Memorial Health System, the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute Advisory Board, and as Chair of the T. L. L. Temple Foundation. 

Temple has been honored for his philanthropy, conservation, and advocacy by several groups, including an Award for Outstanding Achievement for Neches River Bottomland Conservation by the Houston Audubon Society in 2009, the Texas Leopold Conservation Award for the Temple Ranch from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 2011, the Award for Lifetime Conservation Achievement from the Texas Conservation Alliance in September 2012, the R.E. Jackson Conservation Award from the Big Thicket Association in October 2014, and the Silver Bucket Award from the Texas Forest Country Partnership in November 2014.

Neches River bottomland conservation was important to Buddy, and in a landmark deal, he and the T.L.L. Temple Foundation, worked with The Conservation Fund and International Paper to purchase and protect the 19,000 acres of upland pine and hardwood forests known as Boggy Slough.  These important wetlands and forests will be managed with conservation forestry practices and preserved for future generations of East Texans.   

Buddy loved his family, including his sister Charlotte Temple and his mother Mary Denman.  He was most proud of his role as husband to Ellen Temple, father to children Whitney Sage Temple, John Clark Hurst, Jr., Susan Helen Temple and husband Rob Feagin, Hannah Lea Temple and husband Chris Sanders, and grandfather to six grandchildren, Maggie Grace, Lilly Duquette, Walter Duquette, Helen Feagin, Mary Ellen Sanders, Robert Sanders.