Jim Gouge, age 83, a resident of Spruce Pine, died Wednesday, March 18, 2020, at Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine after a two-year battle with various health issues. He was born in Spruce Pine, NC to James Jeffery Gouge, Sr. and Georgia Nichols Gouge both of whom preceded him in death.
James Gouge, Sr. worked for Standard Oil Company which required frequent relocation of his family. One of Jim’s favorite stories was that he attended 11 different school systems in his 12 years of schooling. Jim served his country in the Korean War before he returned to Spruce Pine to join his father’s family business, J.J. Gouge & Son Oil Company. He was married to Margaret Ann Banks for 43 years. She preceded him in death as a result of cancer.
Jim was very active in his business, community and church. He served on many boards and advisory councils, some of which included Exxon’s National Distributor Advisory Council, Tiger-Mac Advisory Council, First Union Bank, Mitchell County YMCA, Western North Carolina Development, and Spruce Pine First Baptist’s deacons board. One of his greatest joys was the many years he spent coaching youth sports in Mitchell County.
While directing Gouge Oil Company, Jim earned Exxon’s most prestigious Commitment to Excellence Award several times, as well as Exxon’s Circle of Excellence. He made many lifelong friends in the petroleum industry all across the nation. He was also a member of the North Carolina Convenience and Marketers Association.
Jim was a member of First Baptist Church, where he served as deacon and chairman of the board of deacons, as well as serving on many different committees for the church. He was a dedicated layman and always available to lend his help any way it was needed. Jim was a lifelong member of the Spruce Pine Kiwanis Club and enjoyed delivering food baskets at Christmas each year.
Jim had a passion for trout fishing. His favorite week of the year always came on his birthday where he spent the week with his friends fishing for speckled trout on the Big Snowbird Creek.
Jim is survived by his Wife: Dorothy Phillips Gouge; his Sister: Barbara Buchanan of Spruce Pine, his Brother: Steve Gouge and wife, Wanda of Taylorsville, Ky.; his Son: Jeff Gouge and wife, Kim of Spruce Pine; his Daughter: Lynne Hopper and husband, David of Woodstock, Ga.; his Grandchildren: Megan and husband, Ridge Phillips of Newland, Scott Gouge of Spruce Pine, Lindsey and husband, Cameron Miller; and Great granddaughter: Maggie Anne of Atlanta, and Haley Montgomery of Orlando, Fla., as well as several nieces and nephews.
A family graveside service was held at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020, in the Spruce Pine Memorial Cemetery, with Dr. Rocky Branch and Dr. Steve Gouge officiating. A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at a later date due to the current health crisis in our country.
Webb Funeral Home is honored to be serving the Gouge family.