Retired Maj. Gen. Merdith Wyndham Bolling “Bo” Temple, a consummate team leader during a career with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that saw him rise to become acting chief of engineers, has died. He was 67.
“Do the right thing, for the right reasons, in the right way,” Temple often said. There are heroes, and then there are heroes who also enable others to be heroic. Temple was the latter, and under his watch many teams carried out monumental acts of heroism both acknowledged and unacknowledged.
ASCE honored Temple, P.E., F.ASCE, with the 2013 Outstanding Projects And Leaders award in the category of government. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1975 as a civil engineer, and was commissioned in the U.S. Army. He served in operational engineering commands at home and abroad before commanding the 307th Engineer Battalion. As a colonel, he was the commanding officer of the 20th Engineer Brigade (Combat) (Airborne) at Ft. Bragg. He finished his career as the Acting Chief of Engineers from June 2011 to May 2012.
“The Corps, “the Unit,” and “the Battalion” all stand for the satisfaction and pride in what is accomplished as a group. Temple embodied this ideal with his counsel for flexible, collaboration-based team solutions. He led both soldiers and civilians at all levels of command, from war theaters to terrorist attacks and from various floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes in the United States to the devastating earthquakes that ravaged Pakistan and Haiti in 2010.
Retiring after 37 years in the military, “Bo” continued to work on multiple corporate and nonprofit boards; he loved the projects he participated in and the wonderful people he worked with, always excited to tackle a new challenge.
He was a member of the ASCE Industry Leaders Council, and in 2010 Engineering News-Record recognized him as one of its top 25 newsmakers. He received the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit (two oak leaf clusters), the Bronze Star (two oak leaf clusters), the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and other service and unit awards.
Temple was known as a gentleman, and as contemplative and curious. He kept up with new technology but had a voracious appetite for American and European history. He also enjoyed classic films, and his children regularly sought his advice on all topics.