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Sir John Templeton

Sir John Templeton, a celebrated stock picker and philanthropist who lived in the Bahamas and became a naturalized British citizen, has died at 95.

He liked to walk along the beach and think about his investments. Which is to say, he thought about investments almost all the time.

"Investing in the big questions", Sir John founded the Templeton Foundation, which has an endowment of $1.5 billion, the Templeton Prize for Progress toward Research or Discoveries About Spiritual Realities, and the Templeton Enterprise Award. Winners of the Enterprise Award receive $100,000 and must be scholars under forty who have produced the very best books and articles in the field of humane economics and culture over the past two years.

Every year the Foundation gives a person who has contributed to discoveries about spiritual realities an award of about £500,000. In 2002 the winner was John C. Polkinghorne, "a former Cambridge physicist who quit the academy to become an Anglican priest. Since then he has used science to defend Christian faith by noting, for instance, that nobody has ever seen elementary particles such as quarks or gluons. 'It is the intelligibility that belief in quarks confers that persuades us of their reality,' he has written. 'It is much the same for my belief in the unseen reality of God.'"

He was a Rhodes Scholar, an audacious investor and a Presbyterian who preached open-mindedness and eschewed literal interpretations of Scripture. "Sir John — who began annual meetings with prayers, he said, to clear the minds of shareholders — made billions as a pioneer in his globally diversified Templeton funds, often taking the old advice, 'buy low, sell high,' to extremes."

Highly profitable extremes which profited his foundation. That he was successful was due to his insight and his thorough research.

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