Dr. Bonnie C. Templeton
(from Los Angeles Times 2/5/02)
Dr. Bonnie C. Templeton, a pioneering female botanist who served as curator of botany for the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural history from 1929 to 1970, has died. She was 95. Dr. Templeton, a Los Angeles resident, died of a heart attack and kidney failure Jan 29 in a Glendale hospital. Dr. Templeton's botanical accomplishments ranged from discovering a rare plant on the El Segundo sand dunes in the 1930s to assembling botanical evidence from La Brea Tar Pits in the 1960s that proved that the climate of Southern California during the Pleistocene era was much cooler and wetter than previously believed.
"She was a trailblazer for women scientists at a time when there were basically no women in science", said Stella Coakley, head of the Botany and Plant Pathology Department at Oregon State University, where Dr. Templeton received her doctorate.
Born in Newman Grove, Neb, Oct 23, 1906, Dr. Templeton moved to Los Angeles alone at the age of 16. She stumbled into botany by chance. After a variety of jobs that included working as a waitress and a secretary, she was sent by an employment agency to the home of a hobbyist who needed help classifying and mounting specimens in his extensive collection of dried plants. From what had simply been a means to pay the rent, Dr. Templeton found her vocation. By 1928, she had learned enough about plants to become Assistant Botanist at the California Botanic Garden in Los Angeles. A year later, she was named Curator of Botany at the County Museum of Natural History where she remained for 41 years. Dr. Templeton earned her bachelor's degree in botany in 1941 and a master's degree in 1947 both from the University of Southern California. She earned her doctorate in 1964 from Oregon State University, writing a thesis on the fruits and seeds of the Rancho La Brea Pleistocene deposits.
While working as Curator of Botany at the County Museum of Natural History, Dr. Templeton served as an on-call forensic botanist for the Los Angeles Police Department, as well as being on call for the poison center. After retiring from the museum in 1970, she founded the California Botanical Science Service, a private consulting business in Glendale, which she operated for about 20 years.
She was survived by her husband Chester Weiche.
Chester D. Weiche was born in Fremont, Nebraska on October 9, 1918. He made his transition on May 28, 2016 at age 97 in Glendale, California. Chester is survived by his wife Carol McInnes O'Brien Weiche of Glendale, two half brothers Monte Ruppert and Douglas Ruppert and his wife Karen who lives in South Range, Wisconsin, as well as an extended family including step-children and grandchildren, one niece, Shirley Weiche Ashbury presently residing in Portland, Oregon, numerous great nieces and nephews, great, great nieces and nephews, and great, great, great nieces and nephews. Chester spent his lifetime in construction learning as a child from his brother Kurt Weiche. He took his trade into the National Guard and the U.S. Army where he applied it during World War II. As National Guard Technician 4th Grade, 110th Quartermaster Regiment and U.S. Army Technician 4th Grade, 806th Ordinance, Light Maintenance Company, he was honorably discharged on 10-11-45 and 11-16-45 respectively.
Chester returned to Los Angeles where he spent many happy years with his wife Dr. Bonnie C. Templeton before her passing in 2002. During those years, Chester was engaged as a construction superintendent for many large projects for Pozzo Construction and other major companies. He was responsible for the construction of several hospitals including St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, as well as many other major and historical buildings and complexes in the area. In his retirement, Chester's endeavors included inlaid wood works, murals of tiles and canvases, wood lathe projects, and any medium in which he was inspired to create pieces of beautiful works of art including a joy for cooking.
Other delights for Chester were his giving and participation with the many endowments, foundations, and social and civic clubs that he supported and participated in which are too numerous to list by name; yet were dear to his heart. With his wife Carol, Chester took pleasure in serving at Solheim Lutheran Home in Eagle Rock, as well as serving and fellowshipping with friends at Center for Spiritual Living Glendale. Together they traveled and visited relatives and friends throughout the United States.
Dr. Bonnie C. Templetonwas a generous friend to the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. She made three separate gifts that will benefit our programs in perpetuity. In 1989, she established an endowment to provide support for graduate student research in systematics. Shortly thereafter, she created a second endowment to help support maintenance of our teaching greenhouse collection.
Her very generous gift in 1997 has made possible the creation and furnishing of the Dr. Bonnie C. Templeton Conference Room, the expansion and furnishing of the Dr. Bonnie C. Templeton Herbarium Preparation Room, and in 2002, the creation of the Dr. Bonnie C. Templeton Imaging Room. The remainder of this gift was used to establish The Dr. Bonnie C. Templeton Lectureship Endowment .
Students who have benefited from awards from this endowment include:
- Justen Whittall
- Teman Erhart
- Brie-Anne McKernan
- Beth Lawrence
- Paul Severn
- Jason Alexander
- Brian Knaus
- Stephen Meyers
- Elizabeth Martin
- Kevin Weitemier
The Dr. Bonnie C. Templeton Annual Lectureship
Following Dr. Templeton's death in 2002, her husband Chester Weiche made an additional gift to the lecture fund. Interest from this fund will be used to sponsor an annual lecture in honor and memory of Dr. Templeton's contributions to botany and to Oregon State University.
- April 5, 2018: Dr. Rebecca Yahr, Royal Botanic Garden, University of Edinburgh, UK. Studying Fungal Diversity: The Challenges and Benefits of Being Small
- April 7 2016: Dr. Lena Hileman, Dept. of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas. Convergence in Flower Form: From Evolutionary Patterns to Developmental Processes
- May 15 2014: Dr Joyce Longcore, School of Biology and Ecology, University of Maine: Adventures in Chytrid Systematics
- April 25 2013: Dr. Chelsea Specht, Plant and Microbial Biology, University of California, Berkeley. Petaloidy, polarity, and pollination: the evolution and diversification of the floral form in the Zingiberales
- May 17, 2012: Dr. Selina Y. Smith,Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Michigan. New approaches to understanding the evolutionary history of monocots
- May 19 2011: Dr Anne Pringle, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University. Reaching the wind and invading new territories: the strategies of stationary and symbiotic organisms
- May 13, 2010: Dr. Tia-Lynn Ashman, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Pittsburgh. From sex ration to sex chromosomes: Ecological and genetic insights into dioecy in strawberry
- May 7, 2009: Dr. Veronica S. Di Stilio, Department of Biology, University of Washington. Evolution of flower development in Thalictrum (Ranuculaceae)
- May 15, 2008: Dr. Sarah Hoot, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukie. In the Garden with Darwin: His Botanical Exploits
- May17, 2007: Dr. Michelle McMahon, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona. Phylogenomic systematics and flower evolution in the legume family
- May 18, 2006: Dr. Kathleen Pryer, Department of Biology, Duke University. The evolution and diversification of "seed-free" vascular plants
- May 5, 2005: Dr. Lynn Bohs, Department of Biology, University of Utah. Casting light on the nightshades: systematics and evolution in the tomato family
- May 13, 2004: Dr. Paul S. Manos, Department of Biology, Duke University. Acorns, Catkins and the Trees of Life
- May 22, 2003: Dr. Peter Stevens, University of Missouri, Missouri Botanical Garden. The End of All Things? Flowering Plant Phylogenies and Names
- May 2, 2002: Dr. Sarah R. Grant, Department of Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Genetic Control of Sex Determination in Dioecious Plants