news-category: In Memoriam

Dr. W. Randall Lolley, Former Gardner-Webb Trustee, Dies at 90

A portrait of Randall Lolley

The Lolley Chair for Pastoral Studies, Established in 2000 at GWU, Recognizes His Contributions to Ministry

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Dr. W. Randall Lolley, former trustee of Gardner-Webb University from 1998 to 2001, passed away on March 21, 2022, in Raleigh, N.C., surrounded by his family. In addition to being a member of the Board of Trustees, Lolley was honored at GWU in 2000 with the establishment of the W. Randall Lolley Chair for Pastoral Studies.

“Dr. Lolley’s legacy continues in many places, including Gardner-Webb University’s School of Divinity,” observed Dr. Robert W. Canoy, dean of the M. Christopher White School of Divinity. “Friends and supporters of Dr. Lolley provided contributions to fund the first faculty chair of the School of Divinity—The W. Randall Lolley Chair of Pastoral Studies. We extend condolences to the Lolley family.”

The late Ed Vick was instrumental in helping raise funds for the Lolley chair. Dr. Doug Dickens was the first to occupy the chair in August 2002, which he did until 2019. In 2020, Dr. Danny West was named to the chair, which he still occupies.

Lolley, age 90, once wrote that he wanted to be remembered as a “believer in Jesus Christ, who loved life, and served people as best he could; who now will enjoy life everlasting in the presence of my Saviour—Jesus.”

He was born in Troy, Ala., on June 2, 1931, to Roscoe Lee and Mary Nunnelee Lolley. While in college, he was pastor of churches at Good Hope, his home church in Troy, and Reece and Piney Grove near Samson, Ala. While in seminary, he was pastor at Pine Ridge and Poplar Springs Baptist churches in Zebulon, N.C. He was also associate pastor at Broadway Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas. Following seminary, Lolley was pastor of First Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., First Baptist Church, Raleigh, N.C., and First Baptist Church, Greensboro, N.C.

He was president of his alma mater, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., from 1974-1988. In the late 1980s, he was awarded the Alexander Meiklejohn Award by the American Association of University Professors for his defense of academic freedom.

Lolley was also a trustee at Campbell University, Meredith College, NC Baptist Retirement Homes, and the Baptist House of Studies at Duke Divinity School. He preached, taught and lectured in churches and schools in 41 states. He traveled with his family and camped in every state of the United States, traveled to all seven continents, and visited over 118 countries around the world.

He is survived by his wife of 70 years, Clara Lou Jacobs Lolley; daughters Charlotte Murphy and her husband, Pat, Goldsboro, N.C., and Pam Frey and her husband, Mike, Raleigh, N.C.

A Celebration of Life service for Lolley will be held on May 14 at 1 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 1000 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Read the full obituary here.

Memorial gifts can be made to: CBF Lolley Fund: or WFU Lolley Fund:

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to six professional schools, 14 academic departments, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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