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  • Guy Maxton Lewis, 1926–2013
  • Robert K. Barney

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In the very early morning of tuesday, october 1, 2013, in Columbia, South Carolina, death claimed Guy Maxton Lewis, aged eighty-seven, who more than any other singular individual was the architect of both the vision and the early activities of organization leading to the formulation of our society, the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH). He is survived by his two sons, Patrick and Andrew, and their families, and by his wife of sixty years, Octavia.

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The oldest son of a respected North Carolinian family, Guy Lewis was born in Beau-fort on September 27, 1926. He commenced his elementary education in Beaufort but finished his high school years in Goldsboro, North Carolina, to which his family moved when he was eight years old. His post-secondary education was achieved at East Carolina University in Greenville (Bachelor of Science, 1950, where he played guard on the football team), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Master of Science, 1953), and the University of Maryland in College Park (Ph.D., 1964). A veteran of World War II, he joined the United States Coast Guard in 1942 at age sixteen, serving until the end of the war on hospital ships carrying wounded from Europe to the United States and on troop-ships ferrying soldiers from American ports to England. Following the completion of his master’s degree in August of 1953, Lewis coached football for ten years at several high schools in North Carolina and Maryland.

It was while studying at Maryland in the early 1960s that Guy Lewis first conceived the idea of a scholarly society devoted to the study of sport history. A short time later, influenced greatly by Seward Staley, Marvin Eyler (his doctoral supervisor), and the model constructs of the American Historical Association, Lewis energized colleagues and graduate students towards forming a sport history disciplinary stream in the graduate curriculum at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst where he had accepted an assistant professor-ship position in 1967. Though not solely alone in the development of sport and physical education streams of scholarly study on the socio-cultural side of disciplinary curriculum matters, Lewis and the University of Massachusetts labored parallel with several Big Ten universities, Penn State University, the University of Maryland, and the University of Southern California as the leaders in this early sport studies disciplinary movement—the heritage of which continues to bear fruit and reap dividends in university departments, schools, colleges, and faculties of sport studies across today’s world of higher education.

Commensurate with the academic disciplinary activities noted above were Lewis’ efforts to bring university sport history-interested academics across America together to form a professional organization. Those efforts were ultimately rewarded with the founding of NASSH in January of 1972. A cadre of graduate students who studied sport history at University of Massachusetts under Lewis in the late 1960s and early 1970s went on to play leading roles in the earlier years of NASSH’s organizational and operational activities. In 1976 Lewis was a Fulbright scholar, studying and researching in Germany. After serving as the second president of NASSH (1975–1977), Lewis left sport history and moved into the discipline of sport management, to which he dedicated more than two decades of service during the last stages of his professional life at both the University of Massachusetts (1978–1987) and the University of South Carolina (1987–2000). He retired from the University of South Carolina in 2000 as Distinguished Professor Emeritus.

The character and notable achievements of NASSH reflected across the globe today rise far beyond Guy Lewis’ original vision. He would applaud this success! He would also readily recognize that each of his original aspirations for the Society and how it would function in the greater world of historical scholarship have been met. We pay tribute to Guy Lewis as our society’s most fundamental founding father! We shall not forget him! Honor to his name! [End Page 2]

Robert K. Barney
Professor Emeritus
Western University


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