Heath and Vaughn Funeral Home - Champaign Il

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Spurgeon W. Baldwin, Jr.

Spurgeon “Spud” W. Baldwin, Jr., 90, died at 5:13 a.m. on Monday, December 23, 2019 at Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. 

Spud was born on November 30, 1929 in Pensacola, FL, the first of four sons, to baldwinAdelaide 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 when 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 in fact 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 United States Air Force at Barksdale AFB in Shreveport, LA and Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage, AK. 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 in Chapel Hill, from which he was awarded a PhD in 1962.

His first teaching position was at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where he taught for 3 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 Chair 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, North Carolina, where they finally built the dream home on the water that 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 NC that 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 enjoyed building three houses over the years in his “spare time.”  A steadfast and loving husband and father, Spud was a worldly scholar who travelled the globe even into his late eighties, learning many languages and making many friends along the way. 

Spud is survived by his wife of 14 years, Carol Baldwin; four children: Sarah (Adam Byrd) Baldwin, Mark (Ashley) Baldwin, Amanda (Andrew) Farthing, and Jennifer (Jeff) Stone; Carol’s two children: Everett (Virginia) Blake III, and Lee (Fred) Gantt; two brothers: Michael (Sharlene) Baldwin, and Mervyn (Janelle) Baldwin; 12 grandchildren: Sam, Axel, Sofia, Madalyn, Avery, Charlie, Whit, Summer, Everette IV, Blake, Alex, and Evan; and many nieces and nephews.

He is 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.

 A visitation will be held from 12:30 p.m. – 2 p.m. on Thursday, January 2, 2020 at Heath & Vaughn Funeral Home, 201 N. Elm in Champaign, IL, with a brief graveside service immediately following at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Champaign.
In honor of his late son Christopher, Spud would have loved for memorial donations to be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at www.lls.org/ways-to-donate.

Condolences to the family may be offered online at www.HeathandVaughn.com.




My condolences.

—Hazel Meadows, Wilson, North Carolina


To the Baldwin family—

I am so sorry to hear that Dr. Baldwin is no longer with us! As a graduate student at the University of Alabama in the early 1990's, remember him as a man of great integrity and dedication to his students. Few are as honest and impartial as he! Without his support I doubt that I could have finished my doctorate and owe my career to him. My thoughts and prayers go out to you. May he rest in peace.

—Nancy Mason


Dear Carol,

I am writing on behalf of my father, Prof. Jim Marchand. As you well know, he and Spud were great friends for many decades. He (and I) are very sorry to hear of Spud's passing. You and the whole family have our deepest condolences. 

Unfortunately, my father's health issues will prevent him from attending the services tomorrow, but he will be there in spirit.

I grew up hearing all sorts of "Spud stories," usually about some sort of shenanigans they had gotten up to on a road trip to a book sale or while playing billiards in the Student Union. Me and my sisters all looked forward to those stories. We feel like we knew Spud just from hearing them all through the years. My dad and I frequently start reminiscing about the "good old days" now that my mother is no longer with us. A few Spud stories usually work their way into the conversation sooner or later.

Again, you have my sympathies on your loss.

Take Care,


Melanie Manner


Please accept my sincere condolence for the loss of your dad and my "big" brother. Though we were not close, he was admired and respected.

—Mervyn Baldwin


Sending sympathy to Spud’s family, especially my friend Carol. It was a joy to know Spud and a special pleasure to sing with him for many years. I will remember his spirit of adventure and encouragement. Remembering Spud at this sad time.

—Allison DuBuisson


We are so sorry to hear about Spud.

Condolences from The Griffins, The Walter Blakes, Matilda and Llewellyn.