James Ramsey Golden, WW II Fighter Pilot, Ford Lawyer and Lobbyist, 1920-2011

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Updated 2015.12.26

James Ramsey Golden, WW II Fighter Pilot, Ford Lawyer and Lobbyist, 1920-1911

James R. Golden, Sr.

Relationship: James R. Golden is my 4th cousin, once removed.

Our lines converge with William (c1750-1808/9) and Nellie Golden (abt 1755-1810) of Edgefield, South Carolina, our mutual grandparents (four generations ago).

This Golden line:

  • William Golden, c1750-1808/09
  • Isaac Golden, 1785 SC – 1860 GA
  • William Harvey Golden, 1811 SC – 1900 GA
  • Erasmus Zeruleus Franklin Golden, 1853 GA – 1927 FL
  • Ross Golden, 1890 GA – 1959 FL
  • James R. Golden, 1920 FL – 2011 VA

YDNA Testing

James R. Golden took a YDNA test via Ancestry.com in the year or so before his death. Those results match those of the other Golden males that have tested via FamilyTreeDNA.

A tribute and overview of  James R. Golden’s life by his daughter Christie Golden

Born in Leesburg, Florida, on September 7, 1920, Golden was a graduate of Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, in 1942–which he attended on an unusual combination of two scholarships, Glee Club and football. … James R. Golden survived jumping out of a burning P-51 Mustang on D-Day, eleven months of life as a German WWII POW, a brutal march of over 34 miles a day in Germany’s worst blizzard in 25 years, and an emergency appendectomy in a makeshift “hospital” during the war. … While serving with the 8th Air Force and the 361st Fighter Group, Golden flew both P-47 Thunderbolts, known as “the Jug” to the pilots who loved them, and P-51 Mustangs. The fighter planes were known as “Little Friends,” and their pilots were dearly loved by the crews of the “Big Friends”, the bombers such as the B-17 and the B-25, that they escorted and protected. Golden’s most satisfying mission occurred on April 13, 1944. Golden and another pilot escorted a crippled B-17 returning from France, driving away six German FW-190s.

Read Christie’s full commentary

8th Air Force P51 Mustangs Gasser - PUBLIC DOMAIN - National Archives

James R. Golden flew a similar P51 Mustang aircraft on the day that he was shot down. This particular P51 Mustang may well have been known to him as it was an 8th Air Force P51 Mustang, 357th Fighter Group, based at RAF Leiston, England – flown by 2d Lt James Gasser, 1944-1945

Washington Post Obituary – January 6, 2012

James R. Golden, 91, a decorated World War II veteran who retired in 1982 as a lobbyist for the Ford Motor Co., died Dec. 14 at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington County. He was an Arlington resident.

He had complications from cancer, his daughter Christie Golden said.

Mr. Golden moved to the Washington area in the late 1940s and worked as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill and as a lawyer in the office of the secretary of the Air Force. He joined Ford in the 1960s and worked as a lawyer and lobbyist in the area of international government affairs.

James Ramsey Golden was born in Leesburg, Fla. He was a graduate of Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. He was a 1947 graduate of the University of Florida law school in Gainesville.

During World War II, he served in Europe as a fighter pilot in the Army Air Forces. He was forced to bail out after his plane caught fire over France during the Normandy invasion. He was captured by the Germans and spent 11 months as a prisoner of war.

His military decorations included the Distinguished Flying Cross and four awards of the Air Medal.

Survivors include his wife of 68 years, Elizabeth Colson Golden of Arlington; three children, Elizabeth Golden of Asheville, N.C., James R. Golden Jr. of Arlington and Christie Golden of Denver; a sister; eight grandsons; and a great-granddaughter.


Orlando Sentinel Obituary – December 21, 2011

GOLDEN, JAMES R. (91) On Wednesday, December 14, 2011, of Arlington, Virginia. Mr. Golden was born in Leesburg, Florida, and he was a graduate of Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, and the University of Florida School of Law in Gainesville. A fighter pilot in World War II, he flew P-47 Thunderbolts and P-51 Mustangs out of England. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the Prisoner of War Medal. On his 48th combat mission–on D-Day in Normandy–he was forced to bail out of his crippled Mustang and was captured the following day dressed in French civilian clothes. He was a prisoner of war for almost eleven months and was liberated by General Patton’s Third Army.

After the war he served two years as the aide to Congressmen Syd Herlong, two years as Legislative Attorney in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force, and seven years as Legislative Assistant and Administrative Assistant to United States Senator from Florida, Spessard L. Holland. Following his government service he joined the Ford Motor Company and retired after 22 years–eight years in Civic and Governmental Affairs in the southeastern United States, and 14 years at Ford’s world headquarters in Dearborn, MI and Washington, DC.

Before retirement Mr. Golden was active in many organizations in Washington. He was the second president of the Florida State Society, and served as vice chairman of the board of the Meridian House International. He served as president of both the Stetson and the University of Florida Alumni Clubs. He chaired the International Trade Committee of the American Motor Vehicle Association and the chaired the Industry Sector Advisory Committee for transportation to the Department of Commerce during GATT negotiations.

After retirement from Ford Motor Company Mr. Golden served as senior vice president of the International Management and Development Institute in Washington, and was president of the P-47 thunderbolt Pilots Association, Ltd., based at The Wings Club in New York City. He was a long-time member of the choir of The Church of the Covenant in Arlington, and the Washington Golf and Country Club.

Mr. Golden is survived by his wife of 68 years, Elizabeth Colson Golden, for many years a high fashion model in Washington, D.C. and Atlanta, and three children: Elizabeth Golden, Asheville, N.C.; James R. Golden, Jr., Arlington, VA.; and Christie Golden, Denver, CO. He is also survived by eight grandsons and one great-granddaughter. His cremated remains will be inurned in the Columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery at a later time. Arrangements were made by Murphy Funeral Home in Arlington.