Cary William "Bill" Spinks | Trinity University
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Cary William "Bill" Spinks

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Cary William “Bill” Spinks, faculty emeritus in the department of English, died June 22, 2019. He was 76. 

Spinks, a leading semiotician, whose career included years of scholarship and research in the study of signs and symbols embedded in literature and human communication, taught at Trinity for 34 years. 

headshot of Bill SpinksHe arrived on the Trinity campus in 1970, after earning his Ph.D. in English from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. As professor of English, Spinks enjoyed designing and teaching courses in mythology, semiotics, and creative writing.  His course in science fiction writing was one of the first in the country taught at the university level.

In addition to his commitment to his undergraduate students, Spinks published numerous books, articles, and poetry, and was heavily involved in various roles in the Semiotics Society of America for several years. His most popular books include Peirce and Triadomania: A Walk in the Semiotic Wilderness, The Trickster and Ambivalence: The Dance of Differentiation, and Semiosis Marginal Signs and Trickster: A Dagger of the Mind.

After more than three decades of teaching and research, Spinks retired from Trinity in 2004. In retirement, his interests led him to found the Raven’s Mud Project, whose sole focus was recycling and refurbishing computers for people and organizations in need.  

Since 1972, Spinks was an active member of University Presbyterian Church, serving as both Elder and Deacon and as an Ambassador for the Sol Center. He also served as a staff member in charge of editing the church website and assisting as a sound technician for several years.  Additionally, he mentored young children at Beacon Hill Elementary School. Passionate in his support of equality and social justice in the local community and beyond, Spinks supported numerous organizations focused on helping people, animals, and the environment.  

Spinks is survived by his wife, Gay, his children Michael and wife Angelica, and Cara Spinks, and grandchildren Andrew Martinez and Heather and Ashley Sanchez-Spinks.

A memorial service in celebration of Bill Spinks’ life will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, June 29 at University Presbyterian Church, 300 Bushnell Avenue, San Antonio, 78212. A reception will follow in the Christian Education building. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations may be made to Habitat for Humanity, World Wildlife Fund, American Cancer Society, or the Interfaith Welcome Coalition.