Anybody know Wally Gobitis?

by parakeet 10 Replies latest jw friends

  • parakeet

    When I was a kid (long time ago), Wally Gobitis used to visit our cong occasionally. For those not familiar with Gobitis, here's a quick JW history refresher:
    Back in the late 1930s Gobitis, a JW, was sued by the Minersville Board of Education when his children refused to salute the flag in school. In 1940, the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, who ruled 8-1 against Gobitis. This ruling was overturned in 1943 in the case of W. Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette.
    Sometime in the 1950s or 60s, I believe, Gobitis moved to Arizona. When he came back to visit our cong, he was treated as a minor celebrity. I didn't know him well, but he seemed like a nice guy.
    I was wondering if anyone here knew him or his family and could tell me more about them outside of what is known in the official record.

  • kid-A

    No, but a guy I know contracted a severe case of inflammatory Wally Gobitis after visiting a brothel in Belgium....

  • blondie

    (If this doesn't work, put "lillian gobitis" into google search)

    (Lillian Klose is her name now)

    There is a 7/22/1993 article in the WT publications if don't have access, I can copy it and PM it.


  • under_believer

    kid-A beat me to it.

  • parakeet

    Thanks, Blondie. Kid-A and UnderBeliever: LOL!

  • blondie

    Lillian (Gobitas) and Erwin Klose had 2 children, Judith and Stephen. )

    Walter was the father of Lillian and William Gobitas. Walter and William are now dead; I think Lillian is still alive in the Atlanta area.


  • blondie
    During her interview with Mrs. Klose, Geier pointed out that Mr. Gobitas sold his store in 1946 when he and his wife moved to Pottsville. Later they moved to Arizona where his wife died in 1962. By 1988, Walter remarried and was living in Gaston, South Carolina. Geier added that the four younger Gobitas children also left Pennsylvania: Paul residing in Miami, Florida; Joy Yubeta, in Sylmar, California; Jeanne Fry, St. Petersburg, Florida; and Grace Reinisch, Riverdale, Georgia.

    The trauma William experienced because of his expulsion and its aftermath remained with him for the rest of his life. He died in 1989.
    Mrs. Klose, who is still grieving the recent death of her 46-year-old son, Stephen, said in a telephone interview from her Riverdale, Ga., home, that she isn't comfortable discussing past or present pledge controversies.

  • sf
  • Forscher

    I met Erwin Klose and know a couple who were good friends of him and Lilian.
    Klose was a concentration camp survivor who used to go around giving talks about his experiences in the Jw underground and the camps. I met him at one of those talks where he and I were introduced because I speak German. We hit it off pretty well but I never got to follow up on that. The last time I talked to the couple who knows the Kloses they told me that Erwin was in poor health, likely because of the camp experiences. They were living in the Atlanta area last I heard.

  • merfi

    My 12yo did a one-person "skit"/reinactment of Lillian Gobitis' flag salute refusal for History Day at school. The kids are encouraged to contact the people they're portraying, so my daughter did. She and Lillian exchange letters now and then... (yep, for real) Lillian is still a JW, living in GA.


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