The world lost one of its best today, Franklin Temple. My grandfather Franklin was one of the true greats and I would like this opportunity to try to give you all an idea of who my grandfather was. To start — he was my hero, along with my father and Grandpa Whelly — he is the greatest man I have ever known.
My grandfather never talked or bragged about any of his successes but if I had to guess I would say he was extremely competitive and took pride in striving to be the best at everything he did, which was exemplified in all of his accomplishments, whether work, or play.
The hardest part about writing this is trying to figure out what to start bragging about first. I guess I can start with the fact that although he never attended college he worked his way up to become the President of Yankee Farm Credit and each year he attended every annual meeting, where he was always given a hero’s welcome. My grandfather grew up on a farm in East Burke, VT. Farming was in his blood, and he seemed to know everything about it. I personally know farmers who long after his retirement still sought him out at parties and gatherings asking his advice about their operations. Along with his knowledge of dairy-farming my grandfather knew everything there was to know about logging, making syrup, and even tended his own vegetable garden every summer.
Along with being an incredibly intelligent businessman, my grandfather also managed all of his own investments. He owned land all over the state of Vermont and managed his own portfolio of stocks and bonds. Seeing his passion and success motivated me, and continues to motivate me, to learn everything I possibly can about business and investing. I owe much of what I know to lessons that I learned from him.
Aside from everything I learned from Gramp, my fondest memories come from spending time with him out in the woods hunting or on the lake fishing. While my grandfather was an excellent businessman and investor, he is THE BEST outdoorsman that I have ever met. That is not an exaggeration whatsoever. Every one of my father’s friends has their “remember when Frank…” story, and they usually involve him doing something incredible, maybe even something a bit crazy (like the time he crawled into a brush pile after a wounded bear he had shot It was dead by the time he got to it, but still…he crawled into a brush pile after a bear! A bear that one would expect to have been injured, feel cornered and most definitely grumpy). Over his lifetime my grandfather has shot well over 100 deer. I will consider myself successful if I end up with 1/4 of that. On top of being an incredible hunter, Gramp was also a crack shot. People tell me that he hardly ever missed. Gramp always told me, “make the first one count then let the lead fly”, and I still listen to his advice to this day.
I still remember the summer after grad school when I basically spent all of May with my grandparents, turkey hunting up on my grandfather’s land in Barnet, VT. Every afternoon when I got back from the woods Gramp would be waiting to hear my stories about how the morning hunt went. I could tell he wished he had the stamina to be out there with me but he still took joy in listening to my stories, which were usually about how I could have shot a turkey but managed to screw it up somehow!
I’ve never seen Gramp more proud of anyone and more excited than when he made it out to the woods in East Haven, Vermont to see the moose that my dad had just shot. At the age of 84 he walked about a mile back into the woods just so he could partake in the moment. You could see the excitement and pride that he had for the success of my father.
Bragging point 5,746,374… My Gramp was the best lake trout fisherman there was on Lake Champlain. While others had adopted all sorts of modern technology he always used his old-fashioned “yanking” technique, jigging spoons just above the bottom of the lake. Professional guide services knew him and would come over and ask, “hey Frank, how you doin’ today?” His answer was always, “Oh, we’ve caught a few”. In reality he had caught about 20. He’d then ask how they were doing and they’d boast, “we’re having a hell of a day — we’ve landed 7!”. He would just smile.
I can still see him holding the taut copper fishing line asking me, “you wanna reel this one in?”. After we were done on the lake, we would get back to the dock where Gramp would tiptoe out to the end of his boat trailer, grab his 17 ft fishing boat, then drag it up onto the trailer. He was still doing this even this past summer, the last time we went fishing together (where by the way, we caught 33 lake trout…one of the best days he’s ever had on Champlain). I will never forget these memories; they were some of the best times of my life.
Finally the last story, I swear. That spring after grad school when I spent a bunch of time with my grandparents, Gramp took me to the “Walden Club”, which is a networking club in town. It was a blast — basically a bunch of guys hanging out drinking Canadian Club on the rocks out of high ball glasses. To say those fellas put the drinks back would be an understatement. After dinner we played a few hands of poker. I’m terrible so I ended up losing all my chips, but for the last hand (which is a winner takes all), Gramp loaned me enough chips to play. I ended up winning and taking everyone’s money home! Now by this time I had about four glasses of scotch, and was just trying to keep up with everyone else there. Apparently it was time to leave (mind you, it was about 8:00 p.m., but that’s late for these folks), and Gramp and I had gotten a ride there from one of his friends, so that’s who we were going home with. While we stumbled down the stairs I could tell that Gramps friend had obviously had quite a bit to drink as well…I struggled to think clearly and weight my options…here’s what I came up with; “Holy crap this old dude can barely walk! How is he going to drive? His reactions are probably slow even when he is sober! I should drive, at least I’m young…but no, I don’t even have a job yet! getting a DUI would stink. Oh hell, I guess Gramp’s friend should drive…” All I have to say is that all of my fears were alleviated as soon as the car was in drive. I swear this gentleman — who will remain nameless — never hit the gas pedal the entire ride home! I laughed to myself thinking, “I have nothing to worry about…if we hit anything, we will just bounce off and start creeping forward again.” What a night that was! Ah, the simple pleasures of small town life.
That’s what Gramp was – a simple man, a wonderful husband and father, someone who worked hard for everything he ever achieved. He took pride in his family, and truly lived life to the fullest. You will be missed Gramp, you were truly one of the greats.
– By Colin Temple
Some of my favorite pictures with Gramp: