James Eubert Holshouser, Jr.

62nd Governor of the State of North Carolina - 1973 to 1977

Date Born: October 8, 1934

Date Died: June 17, 2013

Place Born: Boone, NC

Place Buried: Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church, Southern Pines, NC

Residence: Boone, NC, Southern Pines, NC

Occupation: Lawyer


James Eubert Holshouser, Jr. was born on October 8, 1934 in Boone, NC, the son of James Eubert Holshouser and Virginia (Dayvault) Holshouser. He graduated from Davidson College in 1956, and went on to the University of North Carolina Law School at Chapel Hill, where he served as class president.

On May 17, 1961, James Eubert Holshouser, Jr. married Patricia Hollingsworth, daughter of Leon Howard Hollingsworth and Bessie Jo (Walker) Hollingsworth of Asheville, NC; they had one child.

In 1962, James Eubert Holshouser, Jr. was first elected to represent Watauga County in the NC House of Representatives of the:
- 125th General Assembly that met in 1963
- 126th General Assembly that met from 1965-1966

In 1963, James Eubert Holshouser, Jr. was elected as Secretary of the Republican Joint House-Senate caucus and he continued to rise in the party until in 1966 he was elected to a five-year term as State Chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party.

In the 1972 general election, James Eubert Holshouser, Jr. was elected by the people as the next Governor of North Carolina, and he served from January 5, 1973 to January 8, 1977. He was the first Republican candidate to be elected as governor since 1896, when Republican Daniel L. Russell was elected as a Fusionist candidate. His accomplishments in office included consolidation of the University of North Carolina system under a Board of Governors, capital improvement funding for the community college system, statewide enrollment for children in kindergarten, and establishment of health clinics in rural areas not served by local physicians.

In 1978, he moved to Southern Pines and split his time between law offices in his new hometown and Boone, NC, his original home.

After leaving office, James Eubert Holshouser, Jr. returned to the practice of law (at one point forming a firm with former Democratic Gov. James Terry Sanford), was elected to the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina, and later served as a Member Emeritus. He also served on the Boards of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, NC, and his undergraduate alma mater, Davidson College.

Following a kidney transplant in 1986, James Eubert Holshouser, Jr. devoted much of his time and treasure to numerous organ transplant organizations including the board of directors of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

James Eubert Holshouser, Jr. died on June 17, 2013, and he is buried at the Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church in Southern Pines.


James Eubert Holshouser, Jr. (born 8 October 1934) was the Republican Governor of the state of North Carolina from 1973 to 1977.

Holshouser was trained as an attorney and served several terms representing Watauga County, NC in the North Carolina General Assembly. He also chaired the state Republican Party before becoming North Carolina's first Republican governor elected since 1896, narrowly defeating Skipper Bowles. At age 38, he was also the state's youngest governor since the nineteenth century. Many Republicans disliked Holshouser's moderate stances on issues. The governor supported Gerald Ford for president in 1976, while Republican U.S. Senator Jesse Helms supported Ronald Reagan. When Reagan won the North Carolina presidential preference primary of 1976, the Republican state convention refused to appoint Holshouser as a delegate to the Republican National Convention.

His accomplishments in office include consolidation of the University of North Carolina system under a Board of Governors, capital improvement funding for the community college system, statewide enrollment for kindergarten and establishment of health clinics in rural areas not served by local physicians. After leaving office, he returned to the practice of law, and was elected to the Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina, where he still serves as member emeritus. He has also served on the Board of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, NC.

Holshouser eventually became great friends with Democratic Governor Jim Hunt, who had served as Lieutenant Governor while Holshouser was in office. Holshouser was the last governor who was not eligible for a second four-year term; Hunt was elected in 1976 to succeed him. They serve together on the North Carolina Advisory Board of DonorsChoose. Holshouser recently campaigned for state-funded judicial elections.


In 1973, Holshouser won the governorship and was inaugurated as the first Republican governor since the turn of the century. As governor, he led improvements in economic development, established a system of rural health clinics, expanded the state public parks system, and was instrumental in restructuring the system of higher education in North Carolina.

As an advocate of free trade and following President Nixon’s groundbreaking meeting with Leonid Brezhnev in the Soviet Union, Governor Holshouser led a North Carolina trade mission to Moscow in September 1973. The stop in Moscow was part of a three-week tour with a 31-member trade commission to the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

In 1975, Governor Holshouser faced serious economic challenges in North Carolina that were deeply affected by the national recession, a natural gas crisis, rising unemployment rates, and the political fallout of Watergate.

During his term, Governor Holshouser appointed the first woman to a high-ranking, cabinet-level position. Grace Rohrer was appointed Commissioner of the Department of Art, History and Culture. He was also honored in Washington, DC by the Senator Hugh Scott National Scholarship Foundation for his significant contributions to the field of human rights.

As governor, Holshouser was elected to the executive committee of the National Governors conference, and he was elected chairman of the Southern Regional Education Board, co-chairman of the Coastal Plains Regional Commission, and chairman of the Southern Growth Policies Board.


James Eubert Holshouse, Jr. was born October 8, 1934, in Boone, NC. He graduated from Davidson College and obtained a law degree from the University of North Carolina Law School. Holshouser served as a member of the NC House of Representatives in 1963, from 1965 to 1966, and in 1969 and 1971. During his terms, Holshouser served as House Minority Leader and Chair of Republican State Executive Committee from 1966 to 1972. He was elected Governor of North Carolina in 1972, the first Republican governor since 1896. As governor, he was instrumental in establishing an Efficient Study Commission and he sought to increase foreign trade; develop a modern transportation system, including a mass transit system; and pledged open communications and more involvement with the press and minority groups. He also called for educational and state parks improvements. During his term, Governor Holshouser chaired the Southern Regional Education Board from 1974 to 1975 and served on the National Governors' Conference Executive Committee from 1973 to 1976).

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