Steven Nils Ulosevich, USAF (Retired)
November 19, 1947 – June 3, 2020
Steven Ulosevich, Ph.D. Major USAF Retired passed Wednesday, 3 June 2020 after a long bout with lung disease. Steve was a squadron, wing, MAJCOM LSO, and worked for the LS SPO where he helped draft the first LS Master Plan. He was CMSgt Jim Rooney and my boss at HQ PACAF from 1987-92. He loved Life Support more than any officer I worked with and was a great family man and friend. His wife Pam called me last night and passed on the sad news and let me know that the funeral will only be next of kin due to Covid-19. Keep Pam, Garret, and Christina Ulosevich in your thoughts.
Steven “Steve” Nils Ulosevich, aged 72, passed away peacefully on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Marshall, VA, after courageously fighting sarcoidosis for more than 12 years.
Steve loved his family deeply and cherished his wife Pam, who supported him through his life until his very last moments. He was a devoted husband, father, brother, Grandpa, friend, and confidante. His life was enriched by relationships – both personal and professional – with family and friends around the world.
A many-faceted man Steve loved God and often talked about the great I AM, a concept that kept him in awe. He started each day mentally reciting the Bible verse “This is the day that the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
He delighted in learning about God’s universe and sharing its many wonders with others. He had a special connection to nature, demonstrated by his uncanny penchant for finding four-leaf clovers, his keen knowledge of plants and gardening, and his ability to grow from seed every manner of vegetation or flowering tree. He enjoyed taking his young children on nature walks when the sounds of tree frogs permeated the evening air. He also wrote a special science-based message on a onesie for his new grandson.
Steve was a man of integrity. His word was his bond. He achieved a reputation of speaking his mind and sharing his perspectives and opinions, even when it was uncomfortable.
Steve valued education and learning as well as teaching and training, pursuing them equally in his professional, personal, and family relationships. He saved books and articles that he thought might be useful for his children’s career progression, and he encouraged numerous family members and friends in their endeavors, whether educational, entrepreneurial, or second career.
He relished the challenge and thrill of flying and being a pilot, a dream of his youth. His 22-year Air Force career afforded him both an opportunity to serve and travel the country he loved, and to develop treasured lifelong friendships.
Steve never met a stranger. He invested in relationships and people, whether striking up a long conversation with the postal clerk, prodigiously sharing articles and emails with his friends, acquaintances, and family across the country and globe, or quickly connecting with a loved one on social media.
Steve’s discipline and structure were legendary, whether applied to his work, his family, or – later in life – his illness (doctors marveled at his meticulous recordings of health data). He appreciated a detailed itinerary or agenda, and largely expected one from others.
Endowed with a scientific and logical brain, he greatly appreciated special numbers: a granddaughter born on Pi Day was perfection; an odometer reading of 103,301 was noteworthy, and the moment the clock said 11:15 on 11/15 was something to be celebrated.
Music was another highlight throughout Steve’s life, providing a constant source of enjoyment and a sense of calm when needed. Steve learned to play the accordion from his Russian father and grandfather, and he took up the trumpet in middle school. His musical interests ranged from lively polkas and Russian waltzes to big band sound and Southern gospel to country music and rock & roll. When his granddaughter was born, he rewrote the lyrics of a well-known Beatles song, using her name, to welcome her to the world.
Steve also had an affinity for sports. He played baseball, basketball, volleyball, and golf, and was an avid fan of college football and basketball. His father taught him how to play baseball, and he played so well that his dad thought he should try out for the major leagues. Steve decided against that recommendation, however, because he didn’t want to travel…which is why he joined the U.S. Air Force instead. Apparently, he thought their motto was “Join the Air Force and stay home.”
In everything he did, Steve lived by his own rules and maintained his own superb brand of humor. His laugh was one of the best.
A historical journey of life
Born on November 19, 1947, to Steven Anthony and Coragene Paulson Ulosevich, Steve grew up in Tampa, FL, with his sister Sandy. Living on the bank of the Hillsborough River, Steve learned first-hand about science and nature as he ran among the cypress knees, identified water moccasins, planted gardens, and adopted animals. He observed airplanes from MacDill AFB flying in the skies over his home and declared that one day he would become a pilot.
His young life was also greatly influenced by his immigrant grandparents, who lived nearby: Nils and Margarete Paulson and Roman and Sophia Ulosevich. He spent so much time with them before he began school that he sometimes spoke the broken English he had heard, and when he entered first grade, he was given speech therapy!
When Steve was a senior in high school, his father accepted a position in Greensboro, NC. Steve, therefore, applied to the University of North Carolina. When he set foot on campus, he questioned the high number of women students. He thought, albeit incorrectly, that he would be attending UNC-Chapel Hill to become a Tar Heel instead of UNC-Greensboro, the former Women’s College. His mistake, however, had positive repercussions. At UNCG he met his future wife, Pamela Locke Ulosevich. He courted his fellow chemistry major by leaving a rose in a beaker for her daily at the chem lab.
He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry in 1969. And fifty years after graduation, he chaired the Newsletter Committee and organized a highly successful Military Panel for the 50th Reunion of the Class of ’69.
After he married his college sweetheart on June 27, 1970, Steve was known for surprising Pam in extraordinary ways to mark their yearly anniversary. Being a romantic, he also wished Pam a Happy Anniversary on the 27th of every month, racking up 599 celebrations!
In October 1970, he was commissioned into the Air Force, fulfilling his dream to be a pilot. Initially, he trained in the UH-1 Huey helicopter as one of the early AF helicopter pilots.
His first assignment was to fly in support of Strategic Air Command (SAC) warhead silos near Malmstrom AFB in Montana. He then served as a helicopter instructor at Hill AFB, UT. During the Vietnam War, he flew the HH-43 Huskey, better known as “Pedro,” at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand, flying in the last two-ship mission before Pedro was officially retired.
Upon his return from Thailand, he transitioned into fixed-wing aircraft at Webb AFB, TX, and instructed in the T37 “Tweet” jet trainer and the T38 Talon twinjet supersonic trainer at Williams AFB, AZ, and Columbus AFB, MS. Some of the first women pilots in the AF were in his undergraduate pilot training classes at Williams AFB.
After Steve moved into supervisory and command positions, he liked to say he flew a “large metal desk with two drawers.” He was one of five pilots to serve as Chief, Academic Training, USAF, supervising all academic training of U.S. and foreign students at undergraduate pilot training bases. He authored the preflight training syllabus for undergraduate pilot training, which became the program standard.
He commanded the Survival Detachment at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, NV, where pilots in Exercise Red Flag aerial combat training learned survival techniques for ejection into desert or water environments. A bonus of living in Vegas was the thrill of watching the Thunderbirds from the back yard as they rehearsed their aerobatic maneuvers!
As a pilot, Steve developed a deep interest in pilot safety. Life Support became his passion, and he served as the Director, Life Support, for Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), based at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. His team oversaw aircrew flight equipment, from seat belts and ejection seats to oxygen masks and flight helmets. Steve designed the first human factors training program for Air Force tactical aircrew members. He also co-authored a paper on aircrew eye protection from LASER devices and delivered it at the U.S. NavalPostgraduate School. He obtained and flight-qualified the first laser eye protection in PACAF, “making him a true visionary of what has become the directed energy battleship,” to quote a colleague in the Laser Bioeffects Branch of the Air Force Research Laboratory.
Having a work hard, play hard attitude, while pursuing these professional goals, he also made time in Hawaii to take his family to the beach and just enjoy the island’s beauty and traditions.
Steve earned a Master of Arts in Business Administration from Webster University in 1981 and his Ed.D. as Educare Scholar from the University of Southern California School of Education in 1991. He served as an adjunct professor in management and leadership for Webster University’s military campuses for many years, garnering accolades for his team-building strategies to address real-time issues in the students’ workplaces. He also served on the faculty of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and authored several well-regarded publications delivered at the University’s annual symposiums.
Steve concluded his professional career as Coaching Supervisor for South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science – a program affiliated with Clemson University – where he worked diligently in support of teachers and students throughout the state.
Steve was an exceptional man. The impact of his life is immeasurable.
Celebrating a life well-lived
Steve is survived by his devoted wife Pamela, currently of VA; daughter Christina of Reston, VA; son Garrett and wife Star of Washington, D.C., grandchildren Zinnia (3) and Cypress (5 ½ months); and sister Sandra Ulosevich Cole and husband Stan of Bradenton, FL.
A virtual Celebration of Life was held on November 15, 2020. Memorials were made to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro: Research and Instruction in STEM Education (RISE), Steven N. Ulosevich Memorial Speaker Series (advancement.uncg.edu/giving); Foundation for Sarcoidosis Research (stopsarcoidosis.org); or the Air Force Aid Society (afas.org). Thank you for designating your gift to the “Steven N. Ulosevich Memorial Fund.”