Lawrence Howard Templin taught English at Bluffton College


Lawrence Howard Templin, 100, of Bluffton died July 5, 2022 at his 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 predeceased him on May 13, 2015, after 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 leave in the United States in 1932-34, he spent a year at Lincoln School in New York, a private experimental school. associate at Columbia University and one year at Ann Arbor Public School. Returning to the United States after graduating from high school, Lawrence attended Southwestern College in Winfield, KS for a year, before 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, earning a degree in social science in 1948.

After graduating from college, Lawrence and Orletta moved from Kansas to Ohio, joining Lawrence’s parents at Glen Homestead in Yellow Springs, a sustainable community experiment living on land owned by Antioch College. There they welcomed their firstborn, daughter Sara, who was later joined 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 his 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 thesis on his use of the omniscient point of view. He got his doctorate. in English at the age of 42 and started a new career as a college teacher.

In 1961, three years before earning his doctorate, Lawrence was hired by Bluffton College to teach in its English department. He would eventually spend his entire career at Bluffton, teaching academic English, Shakespeare, British and American literature survey courses, creative writing and many other subjects. One of Lawrence and his students’ favorite classes was the one he titled Enchantment of India, in which he drew on his childhood experiences 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 he took in 1972 and 1980 to travel and do research in England, accompanied by his family. His research at the British Library focused on the responses of late 19th century English intellectuals to their nation’s imperialism.

As well as 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 organizing and leading countless camping adventures. Later he spent many hours writing – memoirs, essays, stories and hundreds of poems. His collection of poetry, Adagio, was printed 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 predeceased by his parents and his wife.

A memorial ceremony will take place at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Campaign for Migrant Worker Justice or the Mennonite Central Committee.

Condolences can be expressed to the family at


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