Arthur Temple made sure there would be foresters to follow him. Temple passed away on Wednesday at the age of 86 and 4 days. Since the early days of his timber and sawmill operation he's supported the Stephen F. Austin College of Forestry, a school that today bears his name. It's carried his name since the college celebrated its 50th anniversary, ten years ago.
'Arthur Temple was an East Texas pioneer lumberman whose accomplishments have paralleled the growth of SFA's College of Forestry.' So said a resolution given to Temple at the occasion. In response Temple said, "Nobody does anything by themselves. I think it's an honor for the Temple Foundation most of all, for the people of Temple Inland and for all the people of East Texas who have been so warm and willing to support us." During the ceremony he gave a glance at his beloved wife, Lottie and with a lump in his throat said, "Your co-workers and your friends and your partners and your wives. They spend so much time doing things you get credit for."
Historian Dr Archie McDonald noted that Mr Temple believed in the East Texas forests. McDonald recalled a conversation with Temple while researching the book, 'The Story of Forestry at SFA'. "He said, 'I bought a lot of land and ought to have bought a lot more because I never saw any of it that the forest wouldn't grow you out of debt.'"
Temple let his fondness for the Pineywoods show in 1996. He said, "Believe me, we talked this chamber of commerce talk that there's no place like East Texas. Let me tell you something. East Texas accomplishes more by accident than most places do."
Arthur Temple could search the world for employees, but he chose primarily SFA forestry graduates. Temple said, "They were practical. They had a good work ethic. They liked to eat the same things we did. I think not that it is one of the best. I have said publicly I really believe that SFA School of Forestry is the best in the country."
As a result Temple's small timber operation made it to Wall Street. The profits were shared, but only after careful consideration. Arthur Temple College of Forestry Dean, Dr. Scott Beasley recalled the intimidating meetings he had with Temple during requests for funding. "He had an uncanny knack for listening to an idea and picking it apart and finding any weaknesses. He used that technique throughout his business. He had a genius for that."