NO. 17951 • 12 January 1927 - 17 April 1994
Died in Charlestown, SC.
Interred at Beaufort National Cemetery, Beaufort, SC.
Arthur Luther Shemwell, Jr. was born in Paris, TN, the only child of Arthur Luther and Fay Bell Shemwell. His boyhood was spent in Paris and Nashville, TN. At the age of 9, he first entered military life when he enrolled in the Junior Military Academy in Bloomington Springs, TN.
Following his years there, he moved on to Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, TN. His friend, Dick Brooks has this to say, "When Art entered Castle Heights in September 1941, a 4‑year preparation for his ultimate desire began - to graduate frorn West Point and become a Regular Army officer. Art never wavered in his aspirations. He rose through the ranks of cadet life while participating in many activities. He was editor‑ in‑chief of the campus newspaper, president of the Tennessee High School Press Association, and president of the Mississippi Valley Press Association. He was a company captain, president of the Heights‑y, Master Councilor of the Corps chapter of DeMolay, and president of the Class of '45. Art was a member of several academic honorary societies, of the Corps Honor Council, and participated in varsity football and track."
Although WWII was coming to a close in the spring of 1945, no one knew it at the time. Consequently, Art, still in pursuit of his dream of being in the Regular Army, enlisted and was shipped to Camp Robinson, AR. In November 1945, he gained entry to the United States Military Academy Preparatory Program at Amherst College. He followed this prograrn from Amherst to Ft. Benning, GA, and from there entered West Point in July 1946, with an appointment from his representative, J. Perch Priest.
Beast Barracks and the following Plebe year could hold small fears for anyone with 7 years prior military schooling, and Art was no exception. He marched where he was told to march, memorized what he had to memorize, and met the upper classes' harangues with an unflappable calm that must have driven some of them up the wall.
Blithely ignoring the burdens the math and engineering departments attempted to impose, he kept the library busy checking out literature's best. He consumed each copy of the Atlantic Monthly, the Congressional Record, and the New York Times. It was no surprise to his closest classmates to learn that later he earned a master's degree in English from Columbia University.
He taught Sunday School for 3 years in the Protestant Chapel, and for those years, the 11 – year olds were known as "Mr. Shemwell's Class."
Art is remembered for his willingness to expound on philosophy, child psychology, football, or the noble Southland. A close friend and classmate put it best when he said in later years, "Art was a good officer, loyal friend, good husband and father, a credit to West Point, and someone I always enjoyed being with."
Arthur and Joan Erthal were married the day after graduation at West Point. Following graduation leave, they proceeded to Ft. Campbell, KY, for his first assignment in the 188th Airborne Regiment and at Ft. Benning in the 508 AIR.
Art led an active and distinguished military life for 23 years. He served in Germany with the 43d Division, the 169 Infantry Regiment, and Headquarters, EUCOM; in Korea with the 32d Infantry; and with the 47th ARVN in Vietnam.
He earned a master of arts in English at Columbia University with a subsequent assignment teaching English at West Point and later taught at the University of Maryland in Europe and Korea. He earned two Bronze Star Medals, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Legion of Merit, and the Air Medal.
Art retired from the Army in 1973. Initially, he located in Gaffney, SC, where for two years he served as Personnel Manager for Oxford Industries' 13 plants.
Beside his passion to be a Regular Army officer, Art had always harbored a desire to be an attorney This yearning had matured in his final years in the Army and accelerated while at Oxford Industries. At the age of 49, he set out to achieve this goal with the same energetic approach he had used in his earlier years. Art enrolled in the University of South Carolina Law School, graduating in 1979.
He was a member of the South Carolina Bar Association and the Cherokee County Bar Association. Art practiced law in Gaffney for 14 years. In his work, he took great pride in doing what was always central to his nature ‑ helping people.
Arthur and Joan loved to boat and water ski. When it came time to retire, they chose Fripp Island on the coast of South Carolina. They moved to Fripp in 1990.
In 1991, the cancer that caused Art's death was discovered. Art is survived by his wife Joan; daughters Andrea Jones of Hendersonville, TN, and Dr. Gale Rudolph of Highlands Ranch, CO; sons LTC Arthur L. Shernwell III of Ft. Belvoir, VA, and Eric Shemwell of AtIanta, GA, and 4 grandchildren.
His family, friends, and fellow officers remember Art as a scholar, leader, gentleman, friend, husband, and father.
- His family, friends, and classmates