Former Gov. James E. Holshouser Jr., the first Republican to be elected the state’s chief executive in the 20th century, died earlier today. Holshouser was 78.
A native of Boone, Holshouser earned his undergraduate degree from Davidson College. After earning a law degree from UNC in 1960, he returned to Watauga County to practice there. In 1962 Holshouser was elected to the N.C. House, where he served four terms. When he won the governorship in 1972, at the age of 38, Holshouser became the nation’s youngest chief executive in the 20th century.
Over the course of his political career, Holshouser found himself the subject of photographer Hugh Morton.