William S. McAninch was born July 30, 1940, in Little Rock, Arkansas to parents Virginia Shepard McAninch and Arthur N. McAninch. His mother died in his infancy, and he was raised from age four by his father and his stepmother, Cecil H. McAninch. In 1962, he graduated with a B.A. with honors in Sociology from Tulane University in New Orleans, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. In 1965, he received an LL.B. from the University of Arkansas School of Law. He was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps and went on active duty in 1965, eventually attaining the rank of Captain. Following the Marines, he attended Yale University where he earned his LL.M in 1969.
After graduating from Yale University, he began teaching at the University of South Carolina where he remained on the faculty until 2002, retiring as the Solomon Blatt Professor of Law.
Bill was a member of both the Marine Corps Association and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), for which he served on the national board. He was also a member of the Association of University Professors (AAUP) and other scholarly organizations. In 1985, he spent eight months researching and writing at The Institute for Advanced Legal Studies in London. In 1988, he taught constitutional law at Southampton University in England, and in 1997, he was asked to return to the University of Arkansas to teach for a semester as a distinguished alumnus.
He was the author of numerous law review articles and books in “The South Carolina Law Review,” “The Carolina Lawyer” and elsewhere, often focusing on constitutional and criminal issues. He was always interested in promoting ethical values and fairness for all. Bill’s most significant contribution to the legal community was The Criminal Law of South Carolina which he wrote and revised again and again from its first edition
in 1982 through the sixth edition in 2013.
Bill worked for many years as a member of the SC state sentencing guidelines commission, which worked to promote consistency and fairness in sentencing. Upon retirement in 2002, he established the Public Interest Law Loan Forgiveness Fund to help repay law school loans of those graduates who went into public service law.
In Columbia, he enjoyed running and hiking, encouraging his students to do likewise. He was an avid movie-goer and volunteer at the Nickelodeon Art Theatre. He enjoyed all the arts: visual arts, film, music and dance, and went often to performances in Columbia, Asheville and The Spoleto Festival in Charleston. He especially enjoyed taking part in The Loblolly Society, a group of scholars from many fields and disciplines
who got together monthly to present papers on South Carolina and the Southeast and to share fellowship. He enjoyed traveling and immersed himself in places of culture, history and natural beauty, both American and foreign.
After retirement to the mountains of North Carolina, he continued focusing on the public good. He actively participated in several land conservancies including The Nature Conservancy and Conserving Carolina, a Carolina mountain land conservancy, serving on the board and on numerous committees. He strongly supported the Asheville Symphony Orchestra, The Amadeus Society, North Carolina Stage Company
and The Wortham Center for the Arts, which named their concession area in his honor.
William S. McAninch died on February 23, 2018. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Jerry Burford McAninch; his children, Shepard W. McAninch and Dr. Cecile M. Nowatka (Chris); and five grandchildren, T. William (Will) M. Nowatka, Helen Cecile M. Nowatka, Collin P. McAninch, Kyle S. McAninch, and Andrew L. McAninch.