James Frederick Temple
March 25, 1930 - February 15, 2016
James Frederick Temple (“Jim”) was born on March 25, 1930 in Toledo, Ohio to parents Walt and Grace Temple. In 1943 he moved to California with his family. By 1946, at the age of 16, Jim was on his own going to school, working full-time as a baker and pursuing a boxing career in Los Angeles. When the Korean War began, he then enlisted in the Air Force Reserves and was stationed in Alaska where he worked as a carpenter.
After his tenure with the military Jim returned to Los Angeles to work as a carpenter. In 1954, Jim pulled his Black Cadillac into Newman Café and his life would never be the same as he met his beautiful bride to be, Phyllis Ann Newman. After two years of dating, Phyllis and Jim married in Las Vegas on March 3, 1956. Phyllis and Jim are the example of a true love story being married for 60 beautiful years with 3 children, 12 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren.
Throughout Jim’s successful career as a real estate developer, he built residential and commercial properties throughout California and Nevada. During the 1960’s Jim built custom homes in San Clemente as well as Bel Air, California. He moved to Las Vegas in the late 60’s where he completed a number of prominent construction contracts including pouring the concrete for the Landmark Hotel and became the largest framing contractor in Nevada. Jim brought his development experience to Palm Springs in 1976 where he built Mesquite Country Club, Desert Falls Country Club, Palm Springs Villas, Palm Canyon Villas, El Mirador Tower, student housing for Cal Poly University and over 3,000 residential homes in Palm Springs alone. In their later years Jim and Phyllis moved to Laughlin, Nevada where he and his son, Mark, developed Desert Springs Fairways as well as the Avi Hotel and Casino.
Jim led an adventurous life and enjoyed scuba diving, golfing, snow skiing, and, especially, off-road racing. He successfully completed the treacherous Baja 1000 in Mexico and won Las Vegas’ Mint 400 twice. Jim always included his son, two daughters and all grandchildren in his love of off-road racing.
Jim was a true cowboy at heart. He was a member of Rancheros Visitadores for 25 years and was part of the Rodeo Camp with his longtime friends Frank Bogert and famed Monte Montana. He enjoyed many years riding the Santa Ynez Valley with his buddies. Jim’s affinity for the cowboy lifestyle led to his purchasing of the Temple Ranch in 1982, located in Whitehall, Montana. For many years, his family and friends enjoyed the Big Sky of Montana. The memories of cattle drives and cattle sales, floating and fishing the Jefferson River, Fourth of July gatherings and all other special moments in Montana will always be held close our hearts.
When you listen to the stories of "Big Jim" or “Temple Tough” you understand who Jim really was. Those who knew Jim throughout his life or those who briefly met, him all felt his spirit. He was always fun, positive, charismatic, and vibrant; Jim was simply the guy that everyone wanted to around. Jim was a great example of the True American Dream where his hard work, perseverance and determination led to his success. The two most important things in Jim’s life were his faith and love for his family. He created a legacy that will live in his families’ hearts forever. Jim passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on February 15, 2016 and will be missed by all who knew him.
Jim always had a special place in his heart for the homeless, those who suffer from addiction or any others that simply needed help. In lieu of flowers or gifts the family greatly appreciates any donations be contributed to Teen Challenge of Spokane, Washington in honor of James F. Temple.