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
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