John Ronald Reuel Tolkien was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa, on January 3, 1892 to Arthur Tolkien and Mabel Suffield Tolkien. Arthur Tolkien died from complications of rheumatic fever, and Mabel decided to move with J.R.R., and his younger brother to Birmingham, England. Mabel Tolkien then died in 1904, and the Tolkien brothers were sent to live with a relative in boarding homes. A Catholic priest assumed guardianship. J.R.R. went on to get his first-class degree at Exeter College, specializing in Anglo-Saxon and Germanic languages and classic literature. He enlisted as a lieutenant and served in World War I, making sure to continue writing as well. He was released from duty due to illness.Tolkien married Edith Bratt in 1916. Continuing his studies after Tolkien became a staff member at the University of Leeds, and a few years afterwards he was a professor at Oxford University.One day while grading papers Tolkien spontaneously wrote ‘hobbit’ on a student’s paper.