James E. Gorman, former president of the Florida 4-H Foundation Board of Directors, was often described as both “a people person” and an excellent leader. He utilized his leadership skills to guide and mentor youth and adults in the 4-H program. He was generous with his time and resources and never passed up an opportunity to help any individual.
Gorman was one of the original members of the Greater Jacksonville Fair Board, and he promoted the 4-H club livestock program at the fair. His involvement with 4-H spanned three decades, from 1940-1970.
“One of the most important parts of his business life in Florida was working with the 4-H program,” said Charlotte Gorman, his wife. “I believe he really enjoyed every minute of it.”
Gorman served as executive director of the Florida Retail Federation. As a liaison to the Florida Retail Federation for youth programs, Gorman was able to raise funds to support the 4-H youth development program. He helped provide support for State 4-H Congress and trips by Florida 4-H members to National 4-H Congress in Chicago, and National 4-H Conference in Washington, DC.
But his support went far beyond financial stewardship. Gorman provided leadership to 4-H program by attending and making presentations for 4-H programs throughout the state.
“Jim’s visibility as a role model for youth was present in his every action,” remembered the late B.J. Allen. “In addition to committing resources from his own organization, he encouraged other members for the Florida Retail Federation to support 4-H locally and at the state level.”
Gorman was always available to support the Florida 4-H Foundation and other 4-H functions. He was an excellent teacher of time management techniques. He was willing to speak to agents, leaders and 4-H members.
“I first met James E. Gorman when I became Duval County Agent in 1953,” said James Watson. “He was employed as secretary for the Florida Retail Chain Store Council, headquartered in Jacksonville, and provided leadership in helping the 4-H youth by attending 4-H club programs and making speeches throughout the state.”
He was involved with the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, where he served as president of the Agriculture Committee. “As chairman of the Agricultural Committee, Jim was able to make funds available for an annual 4-H cattle show in Hemming Park in Jacksonville,” remembered James Watson.
“Generous with donating his resources and time, Jim put both to use to help organizations and individuals reach their goals,” said Nettie Ruth Brown. “As a people person, he possessed those skills which made him a leader.”
Gorman remained an honorary member of the Florida 4-H Foundation Board of Directors until his death.