Vonno Lamar Gudger, Jr. – Captain, United States Army Air Corps Member of Congress

Courtesy of the United States House of Representatives

GUDGER, Vonno Lamar, Jr., a Representative from North Carolina; born in Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina, April 30, 1919; attended the public schools of Asheville; B.A., University of North Carolina, 1940; LL.B., same university, 1942; admitted to the North Carolina bar in 1942 and commenced practice in Asheville; served in the United States Army Air Corps, 1942-1945; served in the North Carolina house of representatives, 1951-1952; State senate, 1971-1977; solicitor, Nineteenth Solicitorial District of North Carolina, 1952-1954; elected as a Democrat to the Ninety-fifth and Ninety-sixth Congresses (January 3, 1977-January 3, 1981); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1980 to the Ninety-seventh Congress; special superior court judge, Buncombe County, North Carolina, September 28, 1984, to present; is a resident of Asheville, North Carolina.

From a contemporary press report:

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA – Lamar Gudger, a former U.S. congressman from western North Carolina who also served as a state lawmaker and a prosecutor, died Monday. He was 85.

Gudger had prostate cancer, but died of natural causes, said his son, Butch Gudger.

“He served outstandingly in all capacities – as a lawyer, public servant, church man and family man,” said Asheville attorney Landon Roberts. “He was a scholar and a gentleman.”

Vonno Lamar Gudger Jr. joined the Army Air Corps to serve during World War II after completing law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1942.

He was elected to the state House in 1949 and later won election as district attorney for Buncombe and Madison counties. Gudger returned to the state Legislature as a senator in 1971 and served until 1976, when he was elected to his first of two terms in the U.S. House. Gudger worked as a Superior Court judge from 1984-1989.

“He was devoted to the people of western North Carolina,” said Ed Israel, a district field representative during Gudger's years in Congress. “The days weren't long enough for everything he wanted to do.”

Gudger worked on behalf of the Blue Ridge Parkway and helped establish the Roy Taylor Forest in Jackson County, Israel said.

Gudger is survived by his wife of almost 56 years, Eugenia Reid Gudger; two sons and two daughters.

His funeral will be at the Central United Methodist Church in Asheville on Friday. Burial will take place September 20, 2004, at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.



Former U.S. Congressman, Superior Court Judge, Solicitor, and State Senator died August 02, 2004 in his home in Asheville, North Carolina, at age 85. Lamar Gudger was born April 30, 1919, to Vonno Lamar Gudger, and Elizabeth Wilson Gudger.

Mr. Gudger received his A.B. Degree from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in 1940, and then went on to obtain his law degree from UNC-Chapel Hill Law School in 1942. He then joined the Army Air Corps at age 22. Among other assignments, he studied navigation at Monroe Air Force Base, underwent primary flight training at Lafayette Air Force Base, and even studied gunnery at Tyndale Field in the Florida panhandle. He served as a navigator and became Captain in the Eighth Bomb Group, from 1942-1945, and earned the Flying Cross, Air Medal, ETO Campaign Ribbons, and otherdecorations.

After completing his tour of duty in Europe, he returned to Asheville. He became active in Democratic politics, was elected Solicitor for Buncombe and Madison Counties in 1951 for a term of four years, served as the State Party Secretary from 1960-1964, served in the State House of Representatives for two years and served as a State Senator for three terms. He was elected in 1976 to the U.S. House of Representatives as Congressman for the 11th District and served there for two terms. Thereafter, in 1984, he was appointed Special Superior Court Judge for the State of North Carolina, in 1987 was named outstanding trial judge of the year, by the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers. In December of 1988 Mr. Gudger left the bench to start a new law firm with his son, Butch.

Mr. Gudger is survived by his wife of 56 years, Eugenia Reid Gudger; sons; V. Lamar “Butch” Gudger, III, and his wife Sally Tickle Gudger, of Asheville, North Carolina, Eugene Reid “Skip” Gudger and his wife Carol Eastman Gudger, of Sarasota, Florida, daughters; Carol G. Hardman and her husband Bill Hardman, of Atlanta, Georgia, and M.E. “Betsy” Gudger, of Asheville, North Carolina; a sister, Elizabeth G. Williamson, of Asheville, North Carolina; and seven grandchildren, Christopher Gudger Hardman, Dorothy Eugenia Hardman, Bryan Thompson Hardman, Morgan Elizabeth Gudger, Christie Brooke Gudger, Reid Wilson Gudger and Sarah Elizabeth Gudger.

A funeral service will be held on Friday, August 6, at 3:00 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church, with Rev. Dr. Robert M. Blackburn, Jr. officiating. The family will receive friends following the service in the fellowship hall. Burial will be Monday, September 20, at 3:00 p.m. in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Hospice of one's choice.

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