“The Original HopeBuilder”
In March, Knoxville Habitat for Humanity lost a dear friend, Bob Temple. Because he was loved by many in Knoxville, the entire community felt this loss. In 1985, Bob earned the title of Fountain City’s Man of the Year. In 2002, the North Side Y was named in his honor. Also, he was a founding member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Knoxville. With a list of accomplishments like this, it is obvious how remarkable a man Bob was.
More than his own accomplishments, Bob’s biggest impact was on the people he touched. His gracious and giving spirit inspired others around him to give back to their community as well.
Bob was born shortly before the Great Depression. He realized the devastation many were facing as they lost their homes. Certainly, he saw the terrible effects this had on these men, women and families. This dark period thankfully ended as World War II and the Korean War came to an end. Bob came out of the US Army a very goal-oriented and driven entrepreneur.
Just starting out, he needed a home for his wife Helen and two daughters. Bob decided “I’ll just build my own home,” as was his self-confident and independent nature. After that, he went on to finance and build duplexes, apartments and develop two subdivisions. Homebuilding became his very successful career.
Devotion to Habitat
When Fountain City Presbyterian Church sponsored and built their first Habitat house, Bob was a natural to step in with what became a life-long commitment to Habitat. He was drawn to the Habitat mission of creating affordable housing. Bob respected those willing to work, learn and commit themselves to the dream of homeownership. As a result, he jumped in with both feet, both hands, a huge heart, financial resources and a passion for helping others realize their dream.
Bob’s example has inspired others as well. For example, he encouraged his son-in-law, Bill Baxter, to bring his company, Holston Gases, on as a Covenant Partner. With the support of Holston employees, five additional families have realized their dream home. But it doesn’t stop there. As a TVA board member, Bill challenged and inspired them to become a Covenant Partner as well. TVA went on to provide partnership funding and volunteers for six additional homes. Their volunteer support continues to this day.
On October 7, 2016, about 200 people gathered together at the Knoxville Habitat HomeBuilders Breakfast highlighting Bob Temple’s impact in the community through Habitat’s mission. The event raised an impressive $45,000 that went towards building a “House of Hope” for a Knoxville family. Even more, Bob Temple’s daughter, Ginger Temple-Baxter, announced that their families would match all donations raised at the event.
Although our dear friend Bob Temple is gone, his legacy lives on through others. Countless families have found the strength, stability and independence through affordable housing. All because of Bob’s giving nature. Parents have grown a sense of dignity and pride. Children have attended and graduated from college. Friends and family have gone on to develop their own devotion to Habitat. And this will lead to more families achieving the goal of safe, affordable housing. The HopeBuilder spirit lives on through those that Bob Temple touched with his generous and gracious spirit.
“The Habitat mission parallels (Bob Temple’s) own passion – of building affordable homes that families turned into homes – and Bob continued to build homes with Habitat for more than 20 years.” – Ginger Temple-Baxter
Thank you from a Habitat homeowner
“Because of Bob (Temple) and Habitat, we achieved homeownership and I got a nursing degree. That absolutely changed our lives, and now all of our children have graduated high school and are furthering their education.” – Rick Burris, Knoxville Habitat homeowner who built with Temple’s help in 1994 and has since paid off his mortgage