James was born in Brookfield, Mo., to Francis Leroy and Hazel Tate Gooch. The family moved to Troutdale, Ore., in 1941 to work in the shipyards. They later moved to Portland, Ore., where Jim attended Woodlawn Elementary School and Benson High School. In 1956, he married his high school sweetheart, Donna Erickson. That same year he entered the Navy where he served aboard the USS Phillip DDE and cruised the western Pacific. His home port was Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
After leaving the Navy, he came to The Dalles, Ore., in 1959 to work at Harvey Aluminum. He worked for years on various construction jobs, mostly as a loader operator and dump truck driver. Many of those years were spent with Jim Ellett Construction.
Jim had a passion for wheels and speed. In his younger days, he raced motorcycles and rode snowmobiles, but always had a car he was working on. His greatest accomplishment was his beloved 1946 Mercury Coupe. He was also an avid reader and he enjoyed spending time near the ocean.
He is survived by his wife, Donna, The Dalles; son, Martin (Rebecca) Gooch, The Dalles; daughter, Cindy Gooch (Andy Frank), Salem, Ore; son, Chris Gooch Portland; grandchildren, Errol Gooch, Aislynn Gooch (Keven McHale), Evan Gooch, Bryce Frank; great-granddaughter, Serene; nephew Brian Gooch (Shannon) Warren, Ore.; numerous other nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Eula Sundt; brother, Edwin Gooch.
A potluck gathering with barbecue and beverages supplied, will be held in his memory on Saturday, July 14, at 1 p.m. at 2308 E. 10th Street, The Dalles.
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