Southern Pines, N.C. — A steady stream of family and close friends poured into a Southern Pines church Thursday night to pay their respects to former Gov. Jim Holshouser, who was remembered as a deeply religious man of principle.
“Of all the people I have met in my lifetime, he was probably the most ethical. He had the highest morality and set of ethics,” George Little, a longtime friend and former cabinet member, said during a visitation service at Brownson Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Holshouser, North Carolina's first Republican governor elected in the 20th century, died Monday at age 78.
He had been in declining health and missed Gov. Pat McCrory's inauguration in January due to pneumonia. But he had been active in public life until a few weeks ago, serving as an emeritus member on the University of North Carolina Board of Governors and working at a law firm.
Many at the visitation had worked for Holshouser during his time as governor.
"He knew how to approach people and get them to follow. He was a good leader,” Little said.
Holshouser was elected in 1972 and served at a time when Democrats dominated state government.
“You are talking about a lot of old war stories and good times,” Little said.
Bruce Warlick got to know the former governor in the pews at church.
“I found out what a super Christian human being he was,” Warlick said. “Everyone who knew him knows how lucky we were to have him this long.”
A funeral service for Holshouser will be held at 1 p.m. Friday. The service will be carried live on WRAL 2, WRAL.com and UNC-TV.