The Lonely Grave of a Murdered Michigan Presidential Candidate
There's a little-known, mostly-forgotten piece of Michigan history that was a part of the 1972 & 1976 elections: Democratic Presidential candidate Ralph Dean Templeton, a one-time resident of Flint, was assassinated in 1975...a murder that remains unsolved. In a small church cemetery out in the middle of nowhere in Deerfield Township in Lapeer County, lies Templeton's grave marker. The epitaph reads: “Assassinated while seeking the nomination for the office of President of the United States of America."
(SEE PHOTO GALLERY BELOW.)
Templeton was murdered in 1975 while living as a resident of Ellensburg in Washington state. His body was found lying in a ditch outside of Ellensburg, shot in the head.
Hardly any information on this crime has surfaced, on the internet or otherwise...no leads, very little mentions. However, a little-known, rare book was published in 1981 about Templeton titled "From Asininity to Assassination: A Biography about a Peripatetic Presidential Candidate."
In a 2011 interview with Deerfield Township clerk Debbie Oliver in the Lapeer newspaper "The County Press" she said the gravestone "sits there just off the drive and it says he was assassinated while running for the office of president. It’s very strange.” She went on to say not many people know any details of the crime or know anything about the Templeton family, of which there are other family gravestones surrounding Ralph's.
It's been a strange Michigan cold case for over forty years that gets re-opened every so often.
His gravestone makes a unique place for Michigan roadtrippers to stop and visit...it's history, it's a mystery and somewhat eerie. No paranormal activity or ghosts have been reported.
The cemetery in which Ralph lies is within the grounds of the West Deerfield United Methodist Church on the south side of the road. It's an isolated, lonely area, located on Otter Lake Road between Oliver Rd. and Obrien Rd., north of Lapeer and northeast of Flint. If you search for it via satellite map, the road inside the cemetery looks identical to a hangman's noose.
Make sure you check out the photo gallery below for the cemetery location and pictures of the gravestone.