Gordon Temple

by SYDNEY REYNOLDS, The Herald, November 05 2004

John Gordon Temple; born December 18, 1927; died September 17, 2004.

London, UK -- John Gordon Temple, a British expatriate who travelled to the remote kingdom of Bhutan as a teenager but rose to become personal assistant to HRH the Bhutanese Queen Mother, has died of cancer at the age of 76.

Widely respected in Bhutan, he was affectionately known as Golden Temple. He spent many years working with charities and branches of the United Nations to improve conditions in the region.

An expatriate since the age of 18, Temple had converted to Buddhism, the predominant faith of the Bhutanese Kingdom. He passed out as a Gurkha officer at Bangalore but subsequently spent periods on detachment with both the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders and the Black Watch.

Some years ago, he set up the Nepalese Tea Corporation in the capital of Kathmandu. In Bhutan, he built houses for the people, encouraging solar energy development. He also worked for Unicef, the UN International Children's Educational Fund, and was highly respected for his dedication to the people.

The small kingdom of Bhutan is growing in popularity as a holiday destination, nestling in the snow-capped Himalayan mountain range next to Sikkim, which adjoins Nepal, just above north-east India.

Temple had recently been granted the rare honour and privilege of Honorary Bhutanese citizenship and was furthermore accorded the honour of a traditional Bhutanese Buddhist funeral, lasting no less than three days, by HRH the King of Bhutan.