Former NC Gov. Jim Holshouser Dies

5:55 PM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
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  • Congressman Coble and Governor Holshouser are seen together at a luncheon at the Country Club of North Carolina in Pinehurst on November 8, 2012.

Pinehurst, NC-- Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Holshouser has died. He was 78. Holshouser's family said he died Monday morning at a hospital in Pinehurst after a period of declining health.

A native of Boone, Holshouser was the first Republican elected governor in the state in the 20th century when he won during President Richard Nixon's landslide victory in 1972. He was also the youngest governor in state history.

Holshouser created a University of North Carolina Board of Governors to oversee the state's newly consolidated system of public universities and established health clinics in rural areas. He expanded public school kindergartens and added to the state parks system.

After leaving office in 1977, Holshouser moved to Southern Pines and returned to practicing law. He also served 16 years on the UNC-system board.

Statements from NC Federal &State Lawmakers

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (NC) issued the following statement in reaction to the news of Gov. Jim Holshouser's passing: "I was terribly sad to hear of Gov. Jim Holshouser's passing. Gov. Holshouser was one of the kindest and most sincere people to ever become involved in North Carolina politics. Staying true to his mountain roots, Jim would always shoot you straight and stay true to his word. His lifelong dedication to service to our state was defined by many outstanding accomplishments that made North Carolina a better place to live. To those of us who knew him personally, Jim was a trusted counselor, leader, and, most importantly, a great friend. Today, all North Carolinians have lost one of the true statesmen of our time."

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan today released the following statement on the passing of former North Carolina Governor Jim Holshouser: "I am sad to learn that former Governor Jim Holshouser has died. Jim was such a good man, and I've long admired his ability to work with Democrats and Republicans. His moderate, consensus-building approach made him an effective leader who brought health clinics to underserved areas, bolstered our public education system and backed important legislation to protect our environment. Jim served during a time of great change in our nation. As our state and our country worked to fulfill our ideals as a land of opportunity for all, he appointed African-Americans to key positions and named the first woman to a cabinet-level position. Jim leaves behind many contributions to North Carolina, and my thoughts and prayers are with Jim's family during this difficult time."

Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham)  issued the following statement on the passing of former North Carolina Gov. James E. Holshouser, Jr.: "As North Carolina's first Republican governor in the 20th century, Gov. Holshouser made an indelible mark on our state's history. He dedicated his life to serving others, and his legacy of strengthening our state's public schools and universities continues to ensure bright futures for our students. Gov. Holshouser was a dear friend and trusted adviser, and I will miss him greatly."

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin offers his sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Gov. Jim Holshouser upon hearing news of his passing. Gov. Holshouser served as North Carolina's governor from 1973 to 1977. Goodwin issued the following statement: "I am truly saddened to hear of the passing of Gov. Holshouser. He was a tireless public servant in North Carolina and a frequent and welcome visitor in my office. North Carolina has lost a strong leader and a good friend."

U.S. Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC) commented on the death of his friend and political mentor, North Carolina Governor James E. Holshouser, Jr.: "I was honored to have been asked by Governor Holshouser to serve in his cabinet when he was elected in 1972. Governor Holshouser appointed me as the Secretary of the Department of Revenue. Not only did he afford me the honor of selecting me for that prestigious position, he gave me the freedom to operate the department as I saw appropriate. He was an outstanding chief executive who empowered his cabinet to execute the vision he had for North Carolina.

"I have known Jim Holshouser from my days as a freshman at what is now called Appalachian State University. I never met a finer gentleman. He was not only smart and effective as a leader, but he was a caring and kind individual who could relate to people from all walks of life. I learned much from Governor Holshouser, not only from his political skills and wisdom, but the way he conducted himself, in and out of the spotlight.

"What Jim Holshouser accomplished for the North Carolina Republican Party will be enshrined in the history books for all time. As the first Republican Governor of the 20th century, Jim Holshouser helped make North Carolina a viable two-party state. Thanks to his leadership and determination, the GOP went from being on the back benches of power to the lofty position it holds today. That is one of Jim Holshouser's greatest legacies.

"But the greatest will be the love he had for his family and friends. He displayed that kindness to me one last time this past November when the folks of Moore County held a luncheon to thank me for my years of service as the congressman who represented Moore in the U.S. House. Thanks to redistricting, Moore County was leaving the 6th District. Governor Holshouser, a resident and still practicing lawyer in Moore County, spoke at the event and was his usual funny and gracious speaker.

"I will always remember our time together in the political trenches, but most of all, I will remember the kindness and friendship he shared with me. I am sad today at the news of the passing of James E. Holshouser, Jr., but I am pleased to say that Governor Holshouser was my boss and my friend."

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