Judge Robert E. Guess was born in Union, South Carolina in 1948. His parents are Joseph H. Guess, a family practice physician, and Julia Easterling Guess.
He attended public schools in Union, South Carolina and while in high school was a member of the varsity football team and was a delegate to South Carolina Boy's State in Charleston, South Carolina. He received his bachelor's degree in English in 1970 from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order and of Blue Key Honor Fraternity. In January of 1970 Judge Guess joined the South Carolina National Guard and served on active duty at Fort Ord, California and at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. He completed a six year enlistment in January of 1976. He attended the University of South Carolina School of Law in Columbia, South Carolina from 1971 to 1974 and received his juris doctorate degree in 1974. He was admitted to the South Carolina Bar in November 1974.
After graduation from law school in 1974, Judge Guess was admitted to practice and worked as an attorney in Charleston and Greenville before returning to Union. Judge Guess practiced law in Union from1979 until his election to the Family Court bench in 2000. His experience in Union included service as an Assistant Public Defender, attorney for the Towns of Jonesville and Lockhart and as Union County attorney. He was a member of the Sixteenth Circuit Resolution of Fee Disputes Committee of the South Carolina Bar.
Judge Guess has been a member of the South Carolina Bar, the Union County Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. He is admitted to practice in all South Carolina Courts and in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina.
He is a member and past chairman of the Board of Deacons of the First Presbyterian Church in Union, member and past president of the Rotary Club of Union, a former member and chairman of the Union County Development Board, and a former member and vice-president of the Board of Directors of the Union County Chamber of Commerce. He is a past member and president of the Union County YMCA and has served on the Board of Directors of Piedmont Legal Services, Inc., Union County and Piedmont Chapters of the Red Cross, and the Union County Salvation Army. He is married to the former Vanda Lee McLeod of Camden, South Carolina, and is the father of two children.