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Funeral Services for James Latham Goolsby, 87, of Marshall, Texas will be held on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, at 1:30pm in the First Baptist Church of Jefferson, Texas with Dr. Ron Danley, Dr. Jeff Taylor, and Bro. Billy Brewer officiating and under the direction of Haggard Funeral Home. There will be a time of visitation on Monday August 14, 2023, from 6 to 8pm at the First Baptist Church in Jefferson, Texas. He passed away on Friday, August 4th at Longview Regional Hospital surrounded by his family and friends.
James Latham Goosby was the son of Upson and Ruth Latham Goolsby. He was born on March 20, 1936, in LaTex, Texas in his parents’ home located on the United Gas employee camp grounds. James attended schools in Groves and Carthage Texas, graduating from Carthage High School in 1955.
James began working at an early age stocking and bagging groceries in his Father’s Carthage grocery store, G & H Super Market. His inventive nature to start his own business led him to begin a very small fireworks stand in the grocery parking lot. That early entrepreneurial spirit led to his opening fireworks stands on several highways outside of Carthage for several years. James, who enjoyed skating, added a skating rink to his list of ventures, providing a new idea for Carthage .
On summer Sunday afternoons, James could be found on Lake Murvaul cruising in his blue and white ski boat. Not a water skier himself, he did however enjoy sharing his boat and the time with friends who were hoping to water ski and have an afternoon of fun on the lake. Summer evenings, James could usually be found “hanging out” on the Carthage Square with friends……he loved his home town.
After finishing high school, he went to work for his uncle at Butler Chevrolet Company in Carthage, Texas. At the age of 25, he became the youngest Cadillac dealer in Texas by opening Goolsby Olds Cadillac in Palestine, Texas. When his father became a real estate broker, James got his real estate license and began selling real estate in Longview. One of his high school classmates, Jackie Brewster, had become an auctioneer and this brought James into the antique business.
In November 1978, James came to Jefferson with a few antiques that he was refinishing and rented a building at 123 N. Walnut Street. He really didn’t have any intentions of opening an antique store, but as he was working on furniture, people came in and started buying. The building he rented was owned by Mary Kay Torrans Haggard and her sister. Ms. Haggard encouraged him and gave him advice as to how to build his business with Jefferson souvenirs, particularly Blair Cedar items. While he continued to rent from the Haggards, he bought the building at 226 N. Polk which was the Callison antique store and established an antique store for his wife, Margie. In traveling the United States buying antiques, he discovered fudge. Having the entrepreneurial mind that he did, he just knew that Jefferson needed a fudge store. He was active in tourism in the early days, and he and a group of men bought a steam engine for Jefferson and that was the beginning of Jefferson Railway. It went through several owners after that group, and Don and Francine Rainey purchased it and expanded to what it is today.
On December 29, 2002, James married Sharon Haggard Bonner. That began a loving journey that has lasted over 20.5 years. It was full of antiquing, teaching her how to make fudge and running a retail candy store. He loved going to Dallas market and, until covid, they made every market. Vacations were annual trips to Crystal Beach and eating at his two favorite restaurants, Stingaree on Crystal Beach and Cajun Greek in Galveston. He never got in the water, just sat on the porch with his binoculars watching ships in the ship channel. No trip to the beach was complete without going to LaKing’s Confectionary in downtown Galveston mainly to check out the prices! (They carried the same candy and fudge as he had in The Fudge Store.) Their first trip together, and annually every year after, was to the Smokey Mountain Gift Show in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. He enjoyed visiting with the vendors that he bought from for years at that show. It always took him longer to get through these shows because he had a year to catch up on with each vendor. This will be the first time in its history that he won’t be there. One of the highlights of the past few years was when he was able to take most of his family to Disneyland on its 60th anniversary. It was his granddaughter, Abbie’s, first visit to Disneyland and his second as his parents had taken him and his sister there when it first opened. He walked the entire park during that visit. He was a bargain hunter and did many estate sales throughout his career. Deals were his passion. In the last decade, he developed a passion for buying and flipping houses. He almost never forgot a face, but maybe sometimes a name! If you came into the Fudge Store, he always wanted to know where you were from and what brought you here. New residents in town always got a lot of history as he sat on one of the benches in front of the store as people stopped by. He was not hesitant to offer his opinion when he didn’t think someone was running a business or making a town decision that he didn’t think might fit in with the rest of the town. His favorite story is he came to town in 1978 to stay six months and ended up staying what would have been 45 years in November.
He was a veteran of the Army National Guard, 132nd Artillery, 49th Armored Division, Battery A & B, Howitzer battalion.
James was preceded in death by his parents; brother in law, Graves Enck; former wife, Margie Goolsby.
The family thanks the staff at Longview Regional Hospital for their excellent care for him those last 5 weeks, and the staff at Alinea Hospice.
Survivors: wife, Sharon; Daughter: Linda Ogin (Wayne), Son: Greg Goolsby, Stepson: David Bonner, Grandsons: (T) Sgt Gregory Ogin & wife, Ruby, Garrett Ogin, and granddaughter, Abbie Bonner. Sister: Janice Enck. Brother-in-law: Charles “Bubba” Haggard and wife Jean. Nephews: James Enck and daughters, Eva and Iris; Mike Enck (Robin) and sons Will and Walker. Uncle, William Latham and numerous special cousins. A very special “almost” son and daughter: Bear & Emily Dorbritz. His special sidekicks: Steve Marshall, Pat Burns, and Will Johson; hundreds of lifelong friends; and, his 15 year old kitty, Callie.
Pallbearers will include Greg Goolsby, Gregory Ogin, Garrett Ogin, Wayne Ogin, David Bonner, Bear Dorbritz, Stevie Marshall, and Pat Burns.
Honorary Pall bearers will be Bubba Haggard, Brodie Aikins, Dean Jones, Charles Pelz, Larry Ford, Jim Myers, Larry D’Asto, Bobby Fyffe, Jr., Wayne Haley, Gene Reed, Will Johnson, Jack Schiefelbein, Bil Latham, Don Hurda, Linc Ellison, Paul Jones, and Doug Stephenson.
Memorials may be made to Friends of Jefferson animals, 312 N Walnut Jefferson, TX, 75657 and Friends of the Jefferson Carnegie Library, 301 W Lafayette St, Jefferson, TX 75657.