Former Oakboro assistant police chief passes away at 70

Photo courtesy of the Oakboro Police Department

OAKBORO — Last week arrived with some tragic news for the Oakboro Police Department and Red Cross Town Council, who are both mourning the loss of Jack Johnson “J.J.” Curlee. 

On Sept. 7, Curlee, a retired assistant police chief who had worked as an Oakboro law enforcement officer for over 20 years, passed away at Charlotte’s Novant Hospital at the age of 70. 

“It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I announce the passing of Retired Assistant Chief Jack Johnson ‘J.J.’ Curlee,” Oakboro Police Chief T.J. Smith wrote in an open letter on his department’s social media page. “It was an honor to serve with Assistant Chief Curlee, who was an honorable man that everyone looked up to and respected. He will be missed by us all.”  

A lifelong resident of Red Cross, Curlee was also a councilman for the town, where he led the service departments for fire and police protection as well as street maintenance. The Red Cross Town Council canceled its Sept. 14 meeting and will reconvene on Oct. 12.  

“Please take time to pray for his amazing family and all those who have served with him,” Smith continued. “We truly appreciate everything he has done for our community and mentoring many officers over the years. He showed officers like me the right way to police.” 

In addition to his two decades as an officer in Oakboro, Curlee served with the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office, Locust Police Department, and Mt. Gilead Police Department at various points throughout his career.   

“Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers. Dad loved this town tremendously and everyone in it,” Amy Tucker, Curlee’s daughter, wrote on Smith’s social media post.  

Curlee was born in 1950 to the late Jack Junior Curlee and the late Evelyn Holt Curlee. In 1969, he graduated from West Stanly High School. Eleven years later, he completed his basic law enforcement training at Stanly Technical College before joining the Oakboro Police Department that same year.  

Prior to this professional decision, he had worked as a truck driver — a job that he continued on and resulted in over 40 years of experience to go along with over 30 years as a police officer.  

The Hartsell Funeral Home of Albemarle is serving the Curlee family, who include his wife, Louise Morton Curlee; children, Timothy Dale Curlee, Amy Lynn Curlee Tucker and husband Matthew Kent Tucker; and siblings, Patricia Whitecotton, Tony Curlee and Kathy Wright. 

Online condolences and memorial tree orders may be made at the Hartsell Funeral Home’s website; multiple trees have already been planted in Curlee’s honor.