Dr. John Caldwell Guilds, Jr. was Dean of the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences and a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas from July 1, 1979 until his retirement.
Prior to coming to the University of Arkansas, he was Dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of Houston, Houston, TX from 1975 to 1979.
A native of Columbia, South Carolina, he was Head of the English Department, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Vice Provost of the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
Dr. Guilds is a graduate of Wofford College in Spartanburg, SC, and earned a Master's and Doctorate degree from Duke University in Durham, NC. He started his academic career at Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, then went to East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma, before becoming Head of the English Department at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. He received numerous grants and awards, including a grant from the American Philosophical Society for travel and research in Ireland and Fulbright-Hays lectureships at the University of Damascus in Syria and the University of Cairo in Egypt.
He was a well-known authority on the work of William Gilmore Simms, South Carolina's most important literary figure, and edited nine or more books, including "The Centennial Edition of the Writings of William Gilmore Simms." He is the author of numerous articles in literary and scholastic journals and worked extensively on his biography of Simms. This was his life work of which he was most proud.
He was also a decorated veteran of World War II
. He received the Purple Heart
and the Bronze Star
medals, of which he was also very proud. He died in the Veteran's Hospital in Fayetteville, AR, surrounded by his family on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.
He was born February 27, 1924 in Columbia, South Carolina, son of John Caldwell Guilds, Sr. and Lucille Folk Guilds, and brother to Mildred Guilds Peele.
He is survived by three children: Carolee Heriot Guilds, recently of Columbia, South Carolina, Reba Lucille Guilds Goodman, of Houston, Texas, and John Caldwell Guilds, III, of Marina del Rey, California, and their mother, his former wife, CaroLee Green Heriot Guilds, of Columbia, SC; and by four grandchildren: Jennifer Christen Goodman, Caroline Elizabeth Goodman Hendrix, and her husband, Elliott, and John David Goodman, all of Austin, Texas, and Anna Lucille Hart Calabrese, and her wife, Tammy, of Brooklyn, New York.
He is also survived by a nephew and niece, Edward Peele and Ruth Peele of Norfolk, Virginia.
He was forever the scholar and loved to travel. He was an open-minded, independent-thinking, and accepting person who will be missed and fondly remembered by all who were close to him.
A memorial service will be held in his honor in Columbia, South Carolina at a later date.