Stories of Faith



  Loftin  Setzer    Goble    Johnson

Of Faith


Sam William Loftin
& Willie Goble Loftin

































































































































Stories of Faith



There are so many stories that make up our lives and our family histories
but none is more personal than our own stories of faith.


John 3:16 - 17

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.


Loftin, Willie Aleen Goble & Sam William Loftin


Willie Goble was born 04 Dec 1925 in Iredell County, NC - the daughter of Martin Luther Goble and Beulah Vernesta Johnson.  Willie was third from the youngest of fourteen children to a poor share-cropper family. The family moved from Iredell County to Catawba County when Willie was in the third grade.


Willie said that as children, she and her sisters (Gevia, Helen and Lib) would sometimes walk to Ebenezer Lutheran Church with Mrs. Pump Alley, a neighbor.  Eventually the girls settled at Center Methodist Church as a result of attending several revivals there - being closer to their home made it more convenient, too.  Willie's brothers didn't usually go with them to church.  The Rudisill boys (including Glenn) would frequently walk them home from church.  Willie was eventually baptized and joined the Center Methodist Church.

(Left Standing) Nessie, Martin, James/Legs, (Sitting) Willie, Elgevia holding Bud (Leg's son), Helen
(Right) Willie when she and Sam lived in the house he built on Shiloh Church Road

(Left) Center Methodist Church: Helen standing beside of her sister, Elgevia (to the left), about 1942
(Right) The original 1951 building for Mathis Chapel Baptist Church in Catawba, NC


Willie married Sam William Loftin on 21 Mar 1942 and her first child, William Ray "Billy Ray", was born 26 Dec 1943.  By this time, Willie was not attending church anywhere.  The family was living near Bandys High School and Sam owned and operated a beer-join in a cinder-block building beside of their home.


Willie said that she and Sam were good friends with William and Annie Guins at that time.  She and Sam had gone to William's house to get some chickens and William invited them to a revival at Mathis Chapel Baptist Church.  The revival preacher was Pastor Bruce Christopher from Hudson Chapel Baptist Church.  It was during this revival when Willie got "saved" - going to the altar and inviting Jesus into her heart.  The following Sunday found Willie at the altar again and after that she never doubted her salvation.  She was about 23 years old at the time.


About that time, Sam went to his brother-in-law's (Glenn Lee's) store and told Glenn about Willie going to the altar at Mathis Chapel and getting "saved".  Sam told Glenn "It'll be a cold day in hell when I go the the altar like she did".  Glenn (who attended Center Methodist) told him, "I wouldn't say that, Sam".  The conversation weighted heavily on Sam's heart and within a couple of days Sam got saved, too.


(Left) Sam, Willie & Billy Ray at Mathis Chapel Church about 1952
(Middle) Deacons at Mathis Chapel:
Bob Wilson, Sam Loftin, William Guins, T. A. Potter, Vic Kirksey, Floyd Kirksey
(Right) Sam & Willie with other charter members of Mathis Chapel Baptist Church in 1953;
(Right) Willie (middle left) holding Curtis with Billy Ray in front of them, Sam (standing center) beside of Pastor Tommy Taylor


Willie read her Bible at work during lunch everyday and frequently talked about the Lord,.  She asked Allie (Glenn Lee's wife and Sam's sister), "Are you saved, Allie?"  Allie responded, "I don't really know.  Will you pray for me?" - which Willie did.


Eventually Willie's sisters, Helen and Gevia, left Center Methodist Church and were "saved" at Mathis Chapel Baptist Church, too. Willie, Sam, Helen and Gevia were all baptized in the cold waters of a local creek.  Rev. Carl Keever was their pastor at this time.


Sam's beer-join had been the main source of income prior to his salvation experience, but after getting saved, he felt the Lord leading him to close down the beer-joint.  Eventually he turned the beer-joint into a grocery store.

(Left) Sam's beer-joint on East Bandys Cross Roads
(Right) Sam & Willie's home and beer-joint on East Bandys Cross Roads

Willie's parent's, Martin & Nessie Goble, started going to Hudson Chapel Baptist Church in Catawba County, NC.  Martin had been a bootlegger and enjoyed his liquor, but shortly after attending Hudson Chapel, he and Nessie both got saved.  Willie said, "People were saying, 'He'll go back on the Bottle'.  But he didn't.  He threw it away.  When he got saved - he got saved!"


Willie said she and Helen had a burden for their sister Lib who had not been saved and they would pray for her often.  Eventually they heard the word that Lib had gotten saved at Hudson Chapel Baptist Church.  "We were so proud", Willie said.


After Willie and Sam joined Mathis Chapel, they never joined another church. It was only when Willie was age 87,  could no longer drive and was having some mobility issues, that she started going with her son, Curtis, to Covenant Bible Church in Lincolnton, NC.


Willie and Sam's son, Curtis, was born in 1953.  Willie was frequently involved in church activities - visiting - teaching Sunday School - and always talking about how good the Lord was.


Willie taught Curtis' Sunday School class for Primary children (ages 6 - 9) for several years.  She was an active teacher - not just teaching Bible stories, but encouraging the children to memorize scripture.  When Curtis was in her class he memorized John 3:16, The 10 Commandments and numerous other scriptures that followed him into adulthood.


While Rev. Tommy Taylor was pastoring Mathis Chapel, Sam felt “the call” to preach and became a licensed minister for several years through Mathis Chapel.  After attending Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute in Henderson, NC, Sam preached in several small churches, but mainly in homes in the mid-1950s and early 1960s, including the home of Fred & Emma Mathis (for whom the church was named).  Average attendance was around 30 – 40.  He even built wooden pews and had revival meetings at his home on Hwy 10 in Catawba.  Sam, Willie and Billy Ray would move the furniture out of the den, move the pews inside to accommodate the crowd, have the meeting, and switch things back after the service.  After several years, however, Sam became discouraged when jealousy and criticism emerged over the large attendance at his home meetings - so he walked away from he ministry.

(Left to Right) Sam's Deacon Certificate from Mathis Chapel  Baptist Church dated March 1955;
his Ministry License from July 1955, and a Revival Meeting Flyer advertising a Revival Meeting where he would be preaching

Mathis Chapel Baptist Church in Catawba, NC


September 1971 Church Homecoming - Sam Loftin Family
Billy Ray holding Eric, Curtis holding Crystal, Diane & Beverly,
Willie, Sam & Billy

Mathis Chapel Women's Class - about 2000
Willie Loftin, Patsy Stallings, Joyce Sigmon, Elgevia Eggers,
Helen Hovis, Judy Honeycutt


As Willie got older, she eventually had to give up driving and rode to Mathis Chapel Baptist Church on Sunday mornings with her sister Elgevia. As Gevia started to age, and as Willie's mobility declined, Willie started going to church with her son Curtis and his wife Carolyn. This was also the church where Curtis and Carolyn's daughter, Beth, and her family attended. Willie started attending Covenant Bible Church in Lincolnton in August/September 2012. Even though Covenant is large church with over 600 members, it is also a warm and welcoming church. Covenant members embraced and loved her and caused her cherish her later church years. Covenant is an interdenominational church.

Covenant Bible Church, Lincolnton, NC

(Left) Willie, March 2014; (Middle) Willie & Curtis after church, Dec 2015; (Right) Covenant Church Directory photo, 2015


Willie loved church, loved to read her Bible from start to finish over and over, love to pray (especially for her family) and love to read Christian Romance novels. She may have only had an 8th grade education but she was smart as a whip with math and loved to read, too. She read through most of Carolyn Loftin's large paperback collection of Christian romance novels. About 2014, Willie started having more problems with rheumatism in her hands. This didn't affect her ability to ready the Bible because she didn't have to hold it and once opened, it easily stated on the page where she was reading. Reading paperback books, however, was another story. Curtis and Carolyn finally gave her a Kindle and she was able to read her Christian Romances as much as she wanted to.


In 2015, aged 89 and still living by herself, Willie started falling. She had a Lifeline connection and Curtis & Carolyn lived next door, so at first the problem didn't seem too severe. By 2016, however, and at the age of 90, the number of falls increased significantly. She had 6 falls from January to May. While at her doctor's office, Curtis requested physical therapy for her, and that seemed to help from June to September. In October, Willie started falling again - having 4 falls in October and early November. It was at that time that Willie, decided that it was time for her to move to a Nursing Facility. Curtis & Carolyn chose Cardinal Healthcare in Lincolnton because it was so close to the church (Covenant) and they believed she's get visits from the church pastors and friends - which she did.


Willie had prayed that she'd be able to go to church for as long as she lived but, unfortunately, that was not to be. By the time she moved into Cardinal, her mobility continued to decline and she had to stay bundled up because she was cold most of the time. Curtis and Carolyn would pick her up, however, on warm Sunday mornings and take her with them to Covenant for as long as she was able to do so.


At Cardinal, she continued to read her Bible and pray - making the most out of her latter years.


Sam and Willie's burial site in the church cemetery