By Lou Baldwin
Special to The CS&T
How very fitting. The communion hymn at Patrick Temple-West’s Aug. 12 funeral Mass at St. Thomas of Villanova Church was “Gift of Finest Wheat.” This hymn is a lasting echo of the spirit of the 41st Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia in 1976 and its theme “The Eucharist and the Hungers of the Human Family.”
Since 1972, Temple-West’s life work was feeding the human family. As the head of archdiocesan Nutritional Development Services and its forerunner, the food program of the former Cardinal’s Commission on Human Relations, his oft-repeated personal mantra was from Luke: “Give and it shall be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, running over.”
Temple-West, who died Aug. 5 at 67, was born in Salisbury, England. He felt drawn to the Catholic faith as a teen and was received into the Church. After his family came to America he earned his bachelor’s degree in English from St. Joseph’s University, and later earned a master’s degree in information science from Drexel University and a master’s degree in public health from Temple University.
After receiving his bachelor’s degree he served in the U.S. Navy as a submarine officer, then took a position with St. Joseph’s Academy of Food Marketing before joining the archdiocesan staff in 1972.
Under his leadership, NDS, working with federal agencies, has provided millions of meals annually to school programs, after-school programs, summer feeding programs, institutions, church food cupboards, soup kitchens and shelters. He was also instrumental in the creation of the Philadelphia Food Bank, Philabundance and the SHARE food program.
Because of his work, Temple-West received the papal honor of Knight of St. Gregory in 1985, and last year he was awarded an honorary degree by Neumann College.
In his home life he also led by example, according to his son Patrick. “He demonstrated with so much confidence how to treat other people, how to be good to other people,” he said.
“Pat was completely without pretense, despite the fact that he was a giant in the area of food assistance to children and others in need,” said archdiocesan Secretary for Catholic Human Services Joseph J. Sweeney. “He was tireless in his commitment to this cause. I will miss him very much but his legacy will live on in the work of Nutritional Development Services.”
Phyllis Reineck, operations manager for Nutritional Development Services, who worked with Pat for 30 years, speaking for the staff said, “Nutritional Development Services has lost its founder and part of the spark which made NDS what it is. He will be greatly missed, but [will live] always in our hearts and [in] keeping his vision in our lives.”
In addition to his son he is survived by his wife Patrice; his daughters, Frances Kennedy, Anna and Marija; and two grandchildren.
The principal celebrant and homilist of the funeral Mass was Msgr. Daniel Sullivan, the board president of NDS; priest friends concelebrated. Also present in the sanctuary were Auxiliary Bishop Robert P. Maginnis and Retired Auxiliary Bishop Martin N. Lohmuller, who gave the final commendation.
Interment was at Calvary Cemetery, Conshohocken.