This weekend I attended the funeral for my grandfather, James “Jim” Cramton Templin, who passed away on Monday, Aug. 12, at his home in Alpine, Utah. My family flew me out to Salt Lake for the somber occasion, which in itself is always nice as I don’t often get to fly.
He was born on Jan. 6, 1932 in Castle Dale, Utah. He grew up in South Salt Lake, where he graduated from Granite High School.
His first marriage to Virginia Banks, despite having three children together, didn't last and ended in divorce. But his marriage to Doris Simons did, as the two were sealed together for time and eternity in the Salt Lake Temple.
He held a variety of jobs including grocery store manager, a Clover Club salesman and perhaps his most important, an aircraft mechanic at Hill Air Force Base.
He was drafted into the army and also served in the Naval Air Force Reserve. This was around the end of the Korean War.
He may not have had to go into the crossfire, but keeping planes airworthy for battle is still just as noble in my view.
He had a particular affinity toward American cars. He especially liked Lincoln cars. In his view, if you had a Lincoln, you had made it in life.
He owned a Ford Model A, which he allowed my wife, his adopted granddaughter, Jennifer, and I to use for our wedding photos.
But his newer cars were both Lincolns, a 2007 Mark LT truck in silver and a late model Town Car in black. You knew it was his car when you saw 'JIMBO' on the number plates.
He mostly liked to hang out at his home in Alpine, where he tended to his garden every day.
His spacious backyard with grass all the way up was, and still is, amazing. It's played host to several big events, including my wedding reception in 2015.
Whoever my family sells it to will be blessed to have it.
He also strived to keep the Christmas spirit alive year round. Grandma Doris didn't like him leaving his Christmas village display up all year and would make him take it down by Valentine's Day.
When she died in 2014, James started leaving the village on display all year.
Sorry grandma, but I'm with grandpa. In these difficult times, we need the spirit of Christmas every day.
He especially kept that spirit alive in his giving spirit. My family has always shown me generosity, but my grandfather wholly embodied that characteristic in everything he did.
After my cousin's mother died, James took her in and treated her like a favorite roommate. He even bought her a pair of jeans with holes in them after grandma initially rejected the purchase because of those holes.
She wasn't too happy with that.
Every even-numbered year at Christmas, he would give each of us an envelope with a $50 bill inside. (Ours is one busy family, as I can personally attest to. We could only be all in one place on even-numbered years.) On the odd-numbered years, he made sure he got those in the mail to us. On our birthdays, at least my wife and I, he'd send us another $50.
He was also a notoriously picky eater. He favored a meat-and-potatoes diet, with very few fruits and vegetables. He kept mainly junk food around the house. I believe that explains my wife's picky eating habits.
Despite this, in his 87 years of life he spent a grand total of just three days in hospitals.
I had the honor of being one of his pallbearers at his well-attended funeral in Highland, Utah.
I gathered a few of our readers would find it funny I mentioned that.
And no, he wasn't heavy. The man was only 130 lbs. when he died.
The occasion, as it often does, made me wish I had more opportunities to spend time with Jim. The few I had mean a lot now that he's gone. Living in SoCal didn't help me there. But I digress.
My advice is to spend as much quality time with loved ones as you can, especially when distance is an issue.
We all miss him already. We miss his generous spirit. We miss his good humor. We will miss having Christmas at his house every even-numbered year.
We hope to keep his generosity alive in what we do.
Last, but certainly not least, I must say what I say to every veteran I meet:
Thank you for your service to our country and our family, Jim.