Jim Holshouser

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Jim Holshouser (AP Photo/Jim R. Bounds)
PINEHURST, N.C. (AP) - Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Holshouser has died.

Holshouser's personal secretary of 35 years, Leslie Watts, says he died Monday morning. He was 78.

A native of Boone, Holshouser was the first Republican elected governor in the state in the 20th century when he won during President Richard Nixon's landslide victory in 1972.

Holshouser created a University of North Carolina Board of Governors to oversee the state's newly consolidated system of public universities and established health clinics in rural areas. He expanded public school kindergartens and added to the state parks system.

After leaving office in 1977, Holshouser moved to Southern Pines and returned to practicing law. He also served 16 years on the UNC-system board.

Watts said Holshouser's family will issue a statement Monday afternoon.

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