James Overton “Jim” Gooch, age 91, passed away peacefully at his residence on Sunday, July 24th, 2022 after a short illness. Born January 8th, 1931 near the Bee Lick community in Northern Pulaski County, Jim was the son of Cecil Gooch and Lola Ethel Wheeldon Gooch. Jim was the seventh of eight children, all of which have preceded him in death: Bernard, Bernice, Eunice, Glenn, Reba, Cecil Jr., and Billy Joe. They were a close family with strong work ethics and spiritual values, which they have gratefully passed to their children, grand and great-grand-children. Jim only completed school through the 8th grade, but he shared a talent for fixing mechanical things to keep the farm running like his brothers.
Jim entered the United States Navy on October 10th, 1951, originally assigned to the Beachmasters Unit 1 at Coronado in San Diego where he served two years. He was then assigned to serve on the USS Calvert APA32 stationed in San Diego for two tours in Korea, earning two combat stars. On the last tour, Jim served on the bridge of the Admiral’s Lead Ship as a part of Operation “Passage to Freedom”, which liberated over 300,000 immigrants from North to South Vietnam. During his service, Jim earned the Korean, Vietnam, and Navy/Marine Presidential Unit Citations. Jim exited the Navy Honorably as a Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class on October 6th, 1955.
Jim married Thelma LaVerne Brown from the Dog Walk community in Lincoln County on February 25th, 1953 in Somerset while home on leave. She accompanied him back to San Diego as they started their new lives together. They moved to Goshen, Ohio upon his Navy discharge. Jim worked as a mechanic at a Dodge Dealership in Loveland and an American Motors Dealership in Montgomery Ohio alongside his brother Glenn.
They moved back to Somerset in 1971, and Jim began working in the Maintenance Department at Tecumseh Products Co as one of their first employees. He retired in 1995.
In retirement, Jim put his mechanical skills to great use both for himself and for others. He built his own tri-wheeled motorcycle-car which he enjoyed showing to others. He also was involved in building home and repair projects with First Baptist Church in Somerset, as well as projects for others and his family. He loved tending to his vegetable and flower gardens and feeding wild birds in his backyard. But the one activity Jim loved most of all was serving in the American Legion Post 38 Honor Guard, paying tribute to those in the Pulaski County area that had served their country, and to honor their service and legacies.
Jim was a Christian, an ordained deacon, and was a member of First Baptist Church in Somerset. Jim and LaVerne were also Charter Members of Beacon Hill Baptist Church in Somerset in the early 70’s. They both enjoyed assisting with countless baptisms during worship services for over 60 years.
In addition to his wife LaVerne, survivors include one son: James Robin Gooch (Diana) of McKinney, Texas, and one granddaughter Sarah Gooch Folliet (Thibaut) of Springfield, Virginia.
Funeral services will be held with full Military Honors provided by American Legion Post 38 on Friday, July 29th at 1:00PM at Pulaski Funeral Home, Bro. David Pendley officiating. Burial will be at the Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery in Northern Pulaski County. Visitors will be welcomed on Friday from 11AM to 1PM at Pulaski Funeral Home. Pulaski Funeral Home, Somerset, KY in charge of arrangements.
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