Dr. Wallace Calvin Smith, 79, husband of Merilyn Johnson Smith, died Thursday, Aug. 6 at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. Calvin lived on of Fripp Island and was a BYSC member for many years.
Merilyn said the love of the water brought them to the BYSC, where Calvin was very supportive of the Dingy races and other Regattas.
Calvin wrote his own final words: “The curtain is down. The play has ended. It’s time to go home.” It is a fitting comment to a life well-lived.
Calvin held a BA from Emory and a Master’s and Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill.
He was one of the founding members of the History Department at the University of South Carolina-Aiken. He also taught at Lagrange College and Jacksonville University. His specialty was American History with an emphasis on Colonial and Revolution History.
Additionally, he taught Constitutional and Religious History in America. He had received National Endowment for the Humanities Grants to attend and finish research at the University of Illinois and a summer research grant to Harvard University. His work appeared in the Georgia Historical Journal, and he critiqued articles for the Journal of American History. As part of the Aiken-Orvieto sister-city exchange program, he delivered talks on Colonial American History in Aiken, SC, and Orvieto, Italy.
As one of his colleagues said, “He personified the phrase gentleman and scholar.” Calvin, a Phi Beta Kappa and Stipe Scholar at Emory, loved learning and sharing his knowledge with all who asked a question. He would give a fair and unbiased view, not only in academic matters but in all topics except college basketball. Then it was unilaterally UNC Tar Heels.
In addition to his wife of 56 years, survivors include two daughters, Kymberley MacKenzie (Michael) of Bradenton, FL, and Aimee Smith of Chicago, IL; a granddaughter, Eilidh MacKenzie; and a brother, Kyle D. Smith Jr. (Vivian) of Calhoun, Ga.
Calvin was preceded in death by his parents, Kyle and Sophie Smith of Pembroke and Calhoun, GA, and his sister, Mary Belle Strickland (Shelby D.) of Garden City, GA.
The family requests memorials to The Parkinson’s Foundation, Beaufort Team, Donor Services, 200 SE 1st Street, Miami, FL 33131, or the Dr. W. Calvin Smith Endowed Scholarship in History at the University of South Carolina Aiken. You can send donations to the Aiken Partnership, Dr. W. Calvin Smith Endowed Scholarship, USC Aiken, Attn: Advancement Office, 471 University Pkwy, Aiken, SC 29801.