James Francis Goble was the first husband of American mathematician Katherine Johnson. They married in 1939 and were together until he died in 1956. While married to Katherine Johnson, James Francis Goble had three daughters, Katherine, Joylette and Constance; they lived in Newport News, Virginia.

James Francis Globe’s character was depicted in Hidden Figures, where he was portrayed as a supportive husband. He was a supportive husband and loving father. James ensured that the needs of his three daughters were met.

Education and Career

Little is known of James Francis Goble’s educational qualifications, but after college, he started teaching chemistry at a local school; on the other hand, his wife also worked as a teacher to be able to support the family when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour before turning into physics and mathematics.

His Wife

James Francis Goble’s wife was born in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. She showed good mathematical abilities from an early age, and her parents committed to ensuring their daughter completed her education. James’s wife went to West Virginia State College and specialized in mathematics.

Katherine Johnson worked with several mathematical professors, including Angie Turner king, her mentor. James Goble’s wife graduated from college when she was 18 with a degree in French and mathematics. Soon after college, Katherine started teaching in a public school but quit to care for her family.

James’s Wife’s Career as a Mathematician

Despite quitting her first job as a teacher, Katherine realized she could follow through with her passion; she started as a research mathematician. However, it was tough for African-Americans to get job opportunities, but she was positive; James’s wife heard that National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was hiring both black and white mathematicians, and she applied for the job.

NACA hired Katherine, and her role was to perform math calculations with other women. Women were given the easy tasks of collecting data and doing simple math calculations, which did not sit right with James Francis Goble’s wife. At one time, Katherine was assigned with men, used her skills to complete the tasks, and liked making male friends.

James’s wife often asked to be included in discussions where women were not allowed before. Katherine’s role in NACA changed in the late 1950s as she worked as an aerospace technologist. She did calculations for spacecraft trajectories on several occasions. She was respected at work as she was among the first African-American women to do what she was doing.

James Goble’s wife was honoured and awarded for her contributions towards NASA; she received a Silver Snoopy Award in 2016. She died at her home on February 24, 2020, aged 101. James’s wife left a legacy, and she will be hard to forget.


James Francis Globe became ill in the 1950s; he was diagnosed with brain cancer. He fought the disease for some time but succumbed to an inoperable brain tumour in 1956, leaving behind his wife and three daughters. James Francis Goble was buried at the Pleasant Shade Cemetery in Hampton, Virginia, USA.