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Former NC Gov. Holshouser dies at 78

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PINEHURST, N.C. -

Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Holshouser has died at age 78.

His personal secretary of 35 years, Leslie Watts, told the Associated Press he died Monday morning.

Holshouser was the first Republican elected governor in the state in the 20th century. He won office during President Richard Nixon's landslide victory in 1972.

A native of Boone, he created the University of North Carolina Board of Governors to oversee the state's newly consolidated system of public universities. He also established health clinics in rural areas. Holshouser grew public school kindergartens and added to the state parks system.
    
He returned to practicing law after exiting public office in 1977. He served 16 years on the UNC-system board.
    
A statement from Holshouser's family is expected Monday afternoon.

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