James Francis Goble- Husband of Katherine Coleman Goble

Who is James Francis Goble?

James Francis Goble was the husband of now-renowned mathematician Katherine Coleman Goble Johnson. He has broken barriers of age, race, and gender before any feminist movement through her rigorous and supreme performance in manual calculations and impeccable accuracy.

Not everyone in this world is recognized for such contributions. Some after death, while others remain unknown and unnamed forever.

So is the case of actual heroes, let alone the supportive characters that help them.

You must have noticed that supportive family members of such personalities are rarely accredited for their contributions.

It requires a big rumor or thunder-rocking news for such people to come into the limelight. James Francis Goble is one such notable name.

James Francis Goble bio, relationships, career and net worth

quick facts

Full nameJames Francis Goble
BirthdayMarch 29, 1913
Sun signAries
TraitsPositive: Passionate, enthusiastic, and hardworking
Negative: Stubborn and impulsive
Place of birthMarion, Smyth County, Virginia, United States.
Date of deathDecember 20, 1956
Cause of deathInoperable brain tumor
ParentsCharles Jackson Goble Sr. (father),
Anna Thomas-Goble (Smith) (mother)
SiblingsHelen Goble McClanahan (sister) and three brothers
Marital StatusMarried
SpouseKatherine Johnson
ChildrenConstance, Katherine, and Joylette (Daughters)

Interesting Facts

1. James Francis Goble is the husband of a renowned mathematician

James was married to the esteemed mathematician Katherine Coleman Johnson. She worked in NASA and helped make Mercury and Earth’s orbit in space accessible to people with her impeccable calculations. 

2. James Francis was not a mathematician

Unlike his wife, James was not a mathematician. Instead, he was a chemistry teacher. 

He started his profession as a teacher right after graduating from college.

3. James has three children

James and Katherine were married for seventeen years. They have three daughters together: Constance, Katherine, and Joylette.

4. James’s character has been portrayed in the award-winning film ‘Hidden Figures’

Hidden Figures is a Screen Actors Guild Award-winning movie that has been nominated for three Oscar awards. The film depicts the struggles of Katherine and her colleagues in working in NASA and contributing to making America a great nation in terms of research and development.

Here, James’s character can be seen as a supportive husband. 

5. James Francis Goble died of a brain tumor

James died at the age of 43 due to an inoperable brain tumor. His wife, Katherine, had only been hired by NASA three years ago.

She took care of him and the children while he battled the disease.

He took his last breath on December 20, 1956.


James was born as a son of father Charles Jackson Goble, Sr., and mother Anna Thomas-Goble (Smith) on a fine Saturday of March 29, 1913. He opened his eyes in Marion, Smyth County, Virginia, United States.

He was born into a small middle-class family. He had four siblings, three of whose whereabouts are unknown to anyone.

It is believed three of them are brothers, and the fourth one is his sister, Helen Goble McClanahan.

Born and raised in an African-origin American family, he had to face the hidden discrimination that was prevalent in the then-American society right from his birth.

However, he obtained his graduation and started a career as a teacher.

James Personality Traits

Being an Aries by his birth sign, his personality was that of a leader. He was cooperative, loyal, humble, trustworthy, and talented. His simple dressing sense showed his humble nature and inclination toward inner beauty rather than of outer appearance.

It also dictates his love and respect towards academics and academicians since he was a teacher himself.

He also married and held a successful relationship with a mathematician until the last breath of his life.

He was an esteemed man, a positive personality whose quests assuredly helped African-American family members open their doors to higher academic achievements and even exposure to outer space.

James Francis Goble and Katherine Johnson

The only love of his life that is known to the media is his wife, Katherine. She was born on August 26, 1918, to a simple nuclear family with working parents.

Her father was a farmer, and her mother taught small kids in a nearby school.

Both James and Katherine were born and raised in West Virginia. Her family was originally from White Sulfur Springs, West Virginia.

Katherine Johnson
Katherine Johnson

James appreciated the hard work and dedication of his partner. She was a brilliant mind who honed her skills amidst social discrimination.

Katherine was a Mathematics and French major from West Virginia State College in 1937. After two years of her graduation, she married James.

In search of job opportunities, James and his family moved to Newport News in 1953. James had three children with Katherine in his seventeen years of married life. They are his beautiful daughters: Constance, Katherine, and Joylette.

Katherine Moore daughter of James Francis Goble
Katherine Moore, daughter of James Francis Goble

James’ firstborn was in 1940, bringing him joy, and his wife, a halt in her career that summer. She had to leave her university and spend a decade of her life on motherhood and family upbringing.

She even did multiple teaching jobs to meet the ends of the family.

As the head of the family, James made huge strides to grow his daughters into rigorously educated people.

It was all worth it, as all his children and his wife had remarkable careers in their lives.

Being the husband of a groundbreaking talent is not an easy task. James supported his wife in every way he could to make her a successful pioneering, genius female mind of America.

Life was hard for all of them during the later years of James’ life, especially for Katherine.

As for James, he had to support a wife who started her scientific life at the age of Jim Crow.

Even after a hundred years of independence, American society was still resistant to men of color. He understood the struggle his wife must have faced every day and encouraged her.

James was her first husband, who died a married man. Katherine remarried James A. Johnson after three years of James’ death.

Her second husband was a U.S. Army Officer and Korean War Veteran. Together, they had 6 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

Katherine Johnson infront of her statue with her family
Katherine Johnson in front of her statue with her family

James Francis Goble Career

James was a chemistry teacher. He lived in Marion and got married to an educated and elegant university graduate lady of his choice.

Life was moving smoothly; however, the mid centuries brought the fall for James.

James fell ill when he was in their hometown. His illness turned into a protracted fight against an inoperable brain tumor (cancer). This was both costly and tiring.

His wife had to take a job since he could not continue with work.

It is believed that James and his wife took multiple careers, like teaching, throughout their lives to raise their children. Being a unique brain inside a black woman, during times of discrimination, Katherine had to wait till she got a chance to enroll in a university degree and get a job at NASA.

It was the time when the death of an African American lady at the age of 35 would be more natural news than her authority.

It was difficult for the family to meet their ends when the head of the family was ill, and female employees were not paid as much as their male counterparts.

James and his family were patient enough to deal with all the difficulties and face them with courage. James received good support from his in-laws for re-establishing his wife’s career in such harsh times.

Their migration to Newport after the diagnosis, including her entry into NASA, was a game-changer for his family.

Apollo 11 is one of the major highlights; her impeccable calculations made other planets like Mercury and earth’s orbit in space accessible to earth folks.

All of it was not a piece of cake, though. She had to wake up encouraged to work every single day.

James could not support her financially but was a binding force and moral support which prevented the family from falling apart while everyone was trying to build their career.

James inspired the humble nature of Katherine. She felt equal to her male colleagues in NASA as she proved her diligence through myriad calculations.

She deflected praise on doing what had to be done for the job.

James was excited to learn about her achievements through newspapers.

James Francis Goble’s fame

James is famous as a celebrity figure. His wife Katherine was an American Physicist and Mathematician responsible for groundbreaking research works on orbital mechanics calculations as a NASA employee in an aeronautics space program.

This contribution made by Katherine was critical to the success of NASA’s attempt at crewed space flights and, basically, every subsequent discovery made by NASA. She was called an “American Academic Hero” and basically a “Computer” who pioneered a legacy in calculations.

In 2015, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

James Francis Goble's wife Katherine Johnson receiving the presidential medal of freedom from former U.S. president Barack Obama.
Katherine Johnson received the presidential medal of freedom from former U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015.

Katherine retired from NASA after serving in NASA’s flight research division for 33 years in 1986. She would have remained unheralded if not for the movie released recently. Her contributions were appreciated through the feature film “Hidden Figures” in February 2016.

This movie portrayed Katherine and her late colleagues, whose contributions were significant milestones in making America a great nation in terms of research and development. The movie received a Screen Actors Guild Award and was nominated for three Oscar awards.

Katherine was the only person alive among her cohort to appear onstage with the cast at the Academy Awards ceremony. She lived long to see the film release and even commented on her own portrayal. “I was not that aggressive,”—she said.

She received a standing ovation, immense camera flashes, and media coverage in February. This aroused the interest of the media in the characters of her life portrayed in the film. This was the primary reason why James came into the spotlight as well.

By then, she had become the best-known member of her formerly unknown cohort.

Katherine G. Johnson’s Computational Research Facility also caused a roar in 2017. In addition to that, she released an autobiography, “Reaching for the moon,” written herself three years back.

All of these exposures had repeated mention of her first husband, James. This was the reason why James has been in the limelight after sixty-four years of his death.

James Francis Goble’s charity

From when James was alive, the family always attended Carver Presbyterian Church, where they voluntarily sang choirs for over fifty years. Together James and Katherine led their family to live a Christian life.

It was sure a problematic time when being a person of color was discriminatory, and so was being a female. African American women faced double discrimination as they were segregated from males in dining, bathroom, and workplace.

James’s wife has also contributed as a member of the alpha kappa alpha sorority group since her university days. African American women established this sorority group for the welfare and uplifting of similar women in different aspects, like academics and sports.

James Goble Social Media

The time was only the starting days of computers when James died. He could not have that many pictures of him taken. However, he has been very popular on social media since his wife passed away this February.

Famous Katherine passed away after having great popularity through a movie based on her life. Statements have been addressed by influential personalities like NASA administrator James Bridenstine. This has made James a highlight among social media of celebrities these days.

James Francis Goble’s death

NASA hired his wife in 1953. Three years after she got hired, James left this world. It was a difficult situation for Katherine. She was stuck in between a serious job and a seriously sick husband fighting a fatal disease. His family spent time these years in treatment and hope.

James was fighting his cancer and had a tough time with his last breath. The unfailing support of his family was the only hope he could have relied on in his last days. At the young age of 43, he took his last breath on December 20, 1956.

He lives in the graveyard of 520 Shell Road, Hampton, Hampton City County, Virginia 23661, United States. His wife has been buried near him in the same Pleasant Shade Cemetery. His family was with him till his last breath and took good care of him.

He lived his life as a family man. If anything, he was remembered by his family as a supportive partner, a positive person, a loyal husband, and a beloved dad. Though he was sick, he died a happy man.

James Francis Goble’s cause of death

Katherine Johnson’s husband died of an inoperable brain tumor in 1956. 


What did James Francis Goble do?

James Francis Goble was a chemistry teacher in his early years. He was a respectable man who helped African-American people open their doors to higher academic achievements.

When did James Francis Goble die?

James Francis Goble died on December 20, 1956.

What was the cause of death?

The cause of James Goble’s death was an inoperable brain tumor.

When was James Goble born?

On March 29, 1913, James Goble was born in Marion, Smyth County, Virginia, United States.

Is James Francis Goble white?

No, James Francis Goble was not white. Instead, he was from an African-origin American family.

Who was Katherine Johnson’s first husband?

Katherine Johnson’s first husband was James Francis Goble. He was a teacher.

How old was James Francis Goble when he died?

James Francis Globe was only 43 years old when he died. He had the support of his family in his last days.

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  1. In the book Katherine Johnson my remarkable journey, she says “jimmy was number seven, almost in the middle of the bunch” And on this page it says he had a sister and three brothers
    Could you info be wrong?

    1. Thank you for providing us with the information Clarice. We’ve passed the information to the research team. We will verify and update the correct information. We really appreciated it.

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