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If you visit Yellowstone National Park you will naturally visit the “Old Faithful” geyser that erupts every 35 to 120 minutes and has done so since first being observed in 1870.

Southside’s most senior partner is our own “Old Faithful”, Brother Sam Levisee. Brother Sam turned 99 last month. Sam has been a faithful member since 1946 at the old College and Leuda building. (He calls our present Hemphill building erected in 1959 our “new building”). Robert C. Jones was the dynamic young evangelist in those years. Sam’s younger brother, Benny Levisee, was one of our song leaders.

Sam Levisee 2016-3

Image by Olaf Growald (

His beloved wife of 75 years, that’s right, 75 years, Rose Levisee, passed away in 2013. Sam provided faithful care and nurture the last seven years of her life as they battled the cruel disease of dementia. They lived over 65 years in the same home on Edgefield Road that neighbored Greenwood Cemetery. Sam tells of meeting Rose when she was 15 at a party where “spin the bottle” was being played. When the bottle pointed at them they were allowed to take an unchaperoned walk together (NO KISSING!) Daring Sam was brash enough however to try to hold her hand on this walk. Rose was horrified and recoiled. But Sam’s warmth and personality won the day, and after 2 years of courtship they joined hands for 75 years of marriage. He calls their home a “household of love”.

Sam served our nation faithfully during World War 2 in the south Pacific in the Navy as a torpedo man, Third Class Petty Officer. He did land duty in New Guinea and the Philippines. He served as a guard at a Japanese POW camp in Leyte in the Philippines. He recalls the anxiety of concern for his young wife and son back in Texas as the Navy prepared for the invasion of Japan. Of course the atom bomb and the subsequent surrender of Japan aborted the invasion preparations.

Brother Sam began work for General Dynamics in Fort Worth in September of 1946 where he served with distinction for his 35 year career. Professionally, he was involved in the manufacturing and engineering of our nation’s military aircraft. He will proudly show his guests at the Retirement community where he now resides beautiful photographs of the B24’s, B36’s, B58’s, F111’s, and F16’s that G.D. rolled out to serve our nation’s security. Sam attributes much of his physical vigor to the five plus miles he walked daily at the plant as he helped supervise the production of these mighty aircraft.

Sam and Rose have one surviving son, Jerry, of Annapolis, Maryland. Jerry’s hobbies as a boy – gas model airplanes and go cart racing – became hobbies of Sam as well. He happily recalls their years of building and racing model planes and go carts together. On one wall of his apartment are photos of the splendid soaring aircraft he helped produce. On the opposite wall are the photos of his four treasured grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He can even tell you their birthdates!

Brother Sam is spry, vibrant, and has phenomenal recall of dates and names. He rarely uses his cane. He still drives himself to wherever he needs to go. He told of using his chainsaw to trim trees as he stood on the roof of his house when he was 92 and of painting his entire house when he was 94. When folks inevitably inquire about his “secret of longevity”, he winks and says he will let you know….when he gets old!

Faithful to his church, faithful to his beloved Rose and family, faithful to our nation, faithful to his employer, faithful to his Lord, “FAITHFUL”.

“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NIV)

We salute our faithful friend, and partner in the gospel, Sam Levisee.

*Photo credit goes to Olaf Growald (

John Scott

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