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James William Covalito


James William Colavito, aged 73, passed away peacefully at home on September 22nd, 2021

after a courageous nine- year battle with cancer. He will be dearly missed by many, but his

legacy lives on in the generations he’s touched. Jim was born on December 13, 1947 to Joseph

and Marion Colavito in Baldwin, Long Island, NY. After graduating from Baldwin High School

in 1966 he completed his bachelor’s degree at the State University of New York College at

Oneonta in 1970. Jim then served in the United States Air Force and was honorably discharged

as a First Lieutenant in 1972. He went on to earn a master’s degree in education from the State

University of New York at Albany, and in 1995 he earned a doctorate degree in education from

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Jim’s passion and purpose in life was educating young minds, and in this pursuit he was

uniquely gifted and uncompromising. His love and conveyance of critical thinking touched the

lives, families, and communities of countless children over a decades- long career. His journey in

education began as an elementary school teacher in 1972. He had many fruitful years as an

elementary and middle school principal, assistant superintendent of schools, and was the

founding director of Duke Middle School in Durham, NC. He then came full circle back to the

classroom as a teacher. Many of those fortunate to be in his classes continued to maintain contact

with him throughout their lives: A testament to his lasting legacy. His professional focus was on

middle school education where he guided both at-risk and gifted students with equal enthusiasm

and dedication.

Officially retiring from teaching in 2014 to pursue his other passion: “simply messing about in

boats”, he couldn’t be kept from the classroom. Jim went on to teach gifted students in his local

school district and blended his two passions teaching sailing to children in the place dearest to

his heart: Oriental, NC. Jim’s quirky, often sarcastic brand of humor was beloved by all those

lucky to share time with him. He was a loving husband, father, and friend whose vivacious love

of all things fascinating and outdoors was contagious.

Jim is survived by his wife Susan and her three children (Todd, Francesca, Katrina), and his two

children (Timothy and Daniel) with his former wife Barbara. He is also survived by his brother

Thomas (and Carole), his sister Joan and many grandchildren, nieces, and nephews. Jim is

predeceased by his parents Joseph J. Colavito and Marian (James) Colavito.

A celebration of Jim’s life will be held at The New Village Brewery in Oriental, NC on Sunday,

October 24, 2021. In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the Multiple Myeloma

Research Foundation, or the Pamlico County Fishes & Loaves Outreach.

Fair winds and following seas Jim

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