Cherry Blossoms

Florence B. Temple

October 30, 1926 ~ December 31, 2020 (age 94)


Florence Bernice (Walker) Temple, 94, of Urbana, Illinois, died on December 31, 2020 at her home. Florence was born in Oelwein, Iowa, October 30, 1926, the daughter of John H. and Gertrude (Cannon) Walker. She was the middle child of 15, in a very tightly knit family, headed by an immigrant from England, who came to the U.S. in 1891 in search of jobs building the railroad infrastructure. Florence grew up in Oelwein, where in high school she first spied Philip, the son of a newly arrived Methodist Minister.

They married on August 6, 1948, in Cedar Falls, Iowa, by Philip’s father, Rev. Herbert D. Temple. They lived in Iowa City while Philip finished a degree at the University of Iowa, with Florence working to support them. He graduated in 1950 with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. Philip then accepted a position with HON Industries, now known as HNI, the office furniture manufacturer, based in Muscatine, IA. Florence supported his rise to a VP position, by raising their family, and involvement in their church and community organizations. In 1973 they moved to a division of HON called Corry-Jamestown in Corry, PA. In 1987 they transferred to the Corry-Hiebert division of HON Industries in Irving, TX, near Dallas, where he worked until retirement in 1990, and died Dec. 7, 2005. Florence stayed in Irving, moving to Urbana in 2010 to be near her son Tim.

Florence cherished her role as a homemaker and in supporting Phil in his career and played a large role in his success. They were members of the First Methodist churches in Oelwein, Cedar Falls and Muscatine, Iowa, and the First United Methodist church of Corry, PA. She assisted with Girl Scout and Boy Scout activities. Florence loved cooking, trying new recipes, gardening, needlework, golf and attending professional golf tournaments, walking for exercise, travel- especially yearly excursions to the Chautauqua Institute at Jamestown, NY. She developed a love of classical music and opera, she especially enjoyed Pavarotti and other opera greats, but also loved the ‘40’s and ‘50’s music and musicals.

She is survived by a son, Timothy Walker Temple (Jerry Carden) of Urbana, IL; a daughter, Deborah Temple (Eric) Witruk of St. Louis, MO; and one grandson, Christopher Witruk, St. Louis; sister-in-law Elaine Walker of Oelwein, brothers-in-law Wayne Stockwell of Montana, Burt Kirkman of Pennsylvania; and many nieces and nephews.  

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband Philip; sisters: Helen Cowell, Ruth Finders, Gert Brady, Blanche Millard, Loretta Smith, Shirley Stockwell, Betty Strempke, brothers: Joseph, Robert, Russell and James Walker. Siblings Edith, John and Jo Ann Walker died in infancy.

A private service will be held January 25th, at Renner-Wikoff in Urbana for immediate family and Florence’s caregivers. A small family service will be held at Richardson Funeral Home in Cedar Falls, IA, January 29th, prior to interment in Fairview cemetery. A virtual service is being planned for anyone, let the family know if you would like to be included.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to the Philip A. and Florence B. Temple Engineering Scholarship Fund at the University of Iowa Center for Advancement, P.O. Box 4550; Iowa City, Iowa 52244-4550); or to an organization of the donor’s choice in Florence’s name.

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