James Oliver Golden, age 84, of Brentwood, Tennessee, passed away peacefully on August 4, 2023, in Nashville. An insatiable lifelong learner, Jim graduated from McKenzie (TN) High School, Bethel College, Tennessee State University (master’s degree), and the Naval School of Music at Little Creek in Virginia Beach where he composed the Golden Lady March and won an award for a march composition. He served in the Tennessee National Guard for 43 years, traveling to numerous foreign countries and retiring as 1st Sergeant of the 129th Army Band.
Infinitely patient and kind, Jim was a beloved teacher for 47 years, imparting his knowledge and love of music in the marching band, concert band, jazz band, and guitar programs in the Metro School System and Franklin Special School District. He passed along his passion for music to family and friends during impromptu concerts and sing-a-longs. Jim’s boundless fascination with how things work, as well as his ability to implement and impart that knowledge, also made him a gifted teacher outside of the music world. Many benefited and learned from his ability to fix cars, household appliances, and lawn equipment, as well as his considerable home improvement skills; as he demonstrated and explained, he helped others become more self-sufficient.
A common refrain among those who knew him was that Jim was the “nicest man” they have ever known, with a demeanor that was kind, friendly, calm in any storm, and filled with good humor. Jim loved working in his yard and garden and taking blue highway road trips with detours to historical sites to feed his curiosity. Jim was also a 32nd degree Mason with the Al Menah Shriners.
Jim will be dearly missed by his loving wife of 62 years, Carolyn (Cruce) Golden, sons Trent and Todd Golden and their wives Valerie and Gina, and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces, and grandnephews. Visitation on Monday, August 14, 2023 from 5:00pm~ 7:00pm, and Tuesday, August 15, 2023, from 9:30am ~ 11:30am at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home, 9090 Hwy 100, Nashville. Funeral on Tuesday, August 15, 2023, at 11:30am at Harpeth Hills. Military burial follows at 1:00pm at Middle Tennessee State Veterans Cemetery, 7931 McCrory Lane, Nashville.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for memorial contributions in Jim Golden’s name to the Freedom Middle School band program: Attention Mark Gary, 1000 Excellence Way, Franklin, TN 37064, 615.794.0987.