Spurgeon “Spud” W. Baldwin Jr., 90, of Champaign, Ill., formerly of Carteret County, died at 5:13 a.m. Monday, Dec. 23, 2019, at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem.
A visitation will be held from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Thursday at Heath & Vaughn Funeral Home in Champaign, Ill., with a brief graveside service immediately following at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Champaign.
Spud was born Nov. 30, 1929, in Pensacola, Fla., the first of four sons, to the late Adelaide and Spurgeon W. Baldwin Sr. A student of Annie K. Suter Elementary School, Clubbs Junior High and P.K. Yonge School in the Pensacola area, he began high school in DeQuincy, La., where the family relocated. Ever the athlete, he swam, biked, roller-skated and played baseball, basketball and football throughout his boyhood. Although he himself would say he wasn’t really cut out for football as “a 145-pound kid who really didn’t like all that head-knocking,” he was pleased to have worked his way up to starting quarterback on the high school team his senior year. DeQuincy is also where a lifelong interest in tennis began.
Spud attended Louisiana State University from 1947 to 1951, where he earned a letter on the varsity tennis team. He was also a Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity brother and a member of the ROTC. Upon graduating in 1951, he served two years as an administrative officer in the U.S. Air Force at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, La., and Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. In fall of 1953, he returned to LSU as a graduate student. It was at this time he began a serious study of Spanish, transferring in 1955 to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from which he earned a Ph.D. in 1962.
His first teaching position was at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., where he taught for three years before accepting a professorship in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he taught for 30 years. He also taught courses at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., and Tulane University in New Orleans, La. Spud left the U of I to accept a position as chairman of the Department of Romance Languages and Classics at the University of Alabama, where he remained for 10 years before retiring. Spud is the author, co-author or editor of numerous scholarly works and journals in the field of romance languages, with a special focus on Spanish medieval studies.
While at the University of Illinois, Spud met and married Patricia Page, and they had five children together. After retiring, Spud and Patty moved to Beaufort, where they finally built the dream home on the water Spud had been designing for years. Patty passed away in 2002, and in 2005 Spud married Carol Blake, with whom he spent many happy years laughing, singing, traveling, volunteering and spending time with family and friends. They divided their time between Carol’s waterfront home in Morehead City and Spud’s homes in Beaufort and in the mountains of North Carolina he so loved.
Spud was an avid classical guitarist and also sang in several chorale groups over the years. He was a talented tennis player, and he enjoyed building three houses over the years in his “spare time.” A steadfast and loving husband and father, Spud was a worldly scholar who traveled the globe even into his late 80s, learning many languages and making many friends along the way.
Spud is survived by his wife of 14 years, Carol Baldwin; four children, Sarah and husband Adam Byrd Baldwin, Mark and wife Ashley Baldwin, Amanda and husband Andrew Farthing and Jennifer and husband Jeff Stone; Carol’s two children, Everett and wife Virginia Blake III and Lee and spouse Fred Gantt; two brothers, Michael and wife Sharlene Baldwin and Mervyn and wife Janelle Baldwin; 12 grandchildren, Sam, Axel, Sofia, Madalyn, Avery, Charlie, Whit, Summer, Everette IV, Blake, Alex and Evan; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by a son, Christopher Baldwin; his wife of 39 years, Patricia Baldwin; a brother, Edward Baldwin; and his parents, Adelaide and Spurgeon W. Baldwin Sr.
In honor of his late son Christopher, Spud would have loved for memorial donations to be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society online at lls.org/ways-to-donate.
Arrangements are by Heath & Vaughn Funeral Home in Champagne, Ill. Condolences to the family may be offered online at www.HeathandVaughn.com.