At ease: Hundreds remember beloved deputy who died after COVID-19 complications

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NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — Tuesday, hundreds of law enforcement officers and residents celebrated the life of David MacAlpine, a New Hanover County Sheriff’s Captain who died of COVID-19.

“He always claimed he knew everyone,” said daughter Delecia MacAlpine said to a theater packed with masked attendees. “And it is very clear that he was not joking.”

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Hundreds crowded the Wilson Center to pay their respects to Captain David MacAlpine, who touched the lives of so many. Sheriff Ed McMahon said MacAlpine had a calming effect whenever he entered a room.

“And no matter what was going on… he would ease over to me, put his hand on my shoulder, and say I gotcha boss. You know I’ve gotcha,” McMahon remembered.

A sheriff’s deputy for 30 years, MacAlpine cared for others and made them smile both at work and at home, according to his granddaughter, Jaeyln.

“Granddaddy, please sleep peacefully and know that there isn’t anyway anyone could replace the joy you brought to everyday,” she said, “for in every word you said and in all your caring deeds, you brought so much happiness and fulfilled so many needs.”

Though his family said the 53-year-old took COVID precautions seriously, especially since the birth of his new granddaughter, he contracted COVID while working a traffic checkpoint.

MacAlpine died from coronavirus complications in the hospital September 17, his birthday.

“To think that my dad worked everyday in the line of duty and for this to be what seems to be the end is heartbreaking,” said MacAlpine’s daughter, Aaliyah. “I ask that you please consider this day. It is very unfair that even those that take precautions are still being affected.”

As the funeral procession made its way to Greenlawn Cemetery, New Hanover and Wilmington firefighters hung a flag over the road, saluting as his casket passed.

It was a final goodbye to the man his friends, coworkers, and family said was a positive influence in their lives.

“Many of us in this room today have been impacted by him. And I’m one of those people,” said one friend and coworker. “I’m a better deputy, but most importantly, I’m a better person for knowing David MacAlpine.”

Wilmington Police responded to New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office calls throughout the funeral, ensuring as many people who knew and loved MacAlpine could attend.