MOREHEAD CITY — Family, friends, coworkers and the larger community are remembering the life of Jim Vaselovic, a Morehead City police officer who died earlier this month from COVID-19 who has been described as funny, talented and loved by many.
Mr. Vaselovic died Sept. 12 at UNC Medical Center in Chapel Hill. He was 49 and lived in Newport. His memorial service, with military honors, was Thursday at Glad Tidings Church in Morehead City, with an option to view the service on his obituary page on Munden Funeral Home’s website.
His wife, Hope Vaselovic, described her late husband as was “funny, musically talented, had a lot of compassion, patient, honest, loved and respected.”
“He was a wonderful man. Anybody and everybody that met him was drawn to him,” she said in an interview with the News-Times Wednesday.
Her husband was also a loving father, stepfather and grandfather who “spoiled” her and her family, she continued, and he had a particularly close bond with their 4-year-old granddaughter, Madeline.
“She was the light of his life,” Ms. Vaselovic said. “She was everything to him.”
He acted, danced and was musically gifted, as well, Ms. Vaselovic shared. He loved to sing, and he played multiple instruments, including the keyboard and guitar.
Mr. Vaselovic was admitted to Carteret Health Care for the treatment of COVID-19 symptoms in early August. About a week later, as his condition worsened, he was flown by helicopter to the UNC Medical Center for continued intensive care.
His wife said she was able to briefly visit him while he was in the hospital, but she could only go in once per day and had to wear extensive personal protective equipment.
Ms. Vaselovic declined to comment on whether or not her husband had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
As for his career, Mr. Vaselovic was a longtime master police officer with the Morehead City Police Department, starting with the agency in December 2014. Before that, he served with the Atlantic Beach and Beaufort departments, and he also spent two years in the U.S. Navy.
MCPD Chief Bernette Morris said Mr. Vaselovic was a hard worker who loved his job and serving the community.
“He was very active in the community and was known for his humor, compassion, tranquility and his bright smile. He met no stranger,” Chief Morris said in emailed comments to the News-Times. “He enjoyed telling funny jokes and stories. He could make you laugh on your worst day.”
The chief said Mr. Vaselovic will be “truly missed.”
Many in the community came out in a show of support for Mr. Vaselovic’s family when his body was transported back to Morehead City from Chapel Hill Sept. 12. Residents, some with American flags, lined the streets leading to Munden Funeral Home, which handled the arrangements, as patrol cars escorted the body back.
Cathy Boone, a family friend who said she has known Ms. Vaselovic for more than 15 years, set up a GoFundMe to help the family pay for expenses related to Mr. Vaselovic’s care. As of Wednesday afternoon, the fundraiser had raised just over $17,000 of its $25,000 goal.
Like many others, Ms. Boone mentioned Mr. Vaselovic’s sense of humor and positive outlook as some of his most prominent traits.
“He had one of the biggest hearts and would do anything for anyone,” she said. “He was everything to Hope and her children and, they were everything to them. If you were having a bad day, have no fear because Jim would do everything he could to put a smile on your face.”
According to his obituary, Mr. Vaselovic is survived by his wife, Hope; son, Connor Vaselovic of the home; stepsons, DJ States of the home and Cody Fair of Central Point, Ore.; stepdaughter Neesha States of Fredericksburg, Texas; mother, Frances Agugliaro Vaselovic of Terre Haute, Ind.; sisters, Kathy Minor and husband Chuck of Terre Haute, Ind., and Donna Vaselovic of Mattoon, Ill.; many nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles; his special granddaughter, Madeline Zubovic; and his beloved pets – cats, Pippin and Strider, and dogs, Midnight and Jasmine.
He was preceded in death by his father, John Joseph Vaselovic Jr., and his stepson, Tyler Bradley Fair.
Contact Elise Clouser at email@example.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.