Nicholas Henry Vitulli
February 28, 1992 - October 16, 2016
Nick was always there to help out and worked to make his world better
In loving memory of our sweet, creative, and curious boy, Nicholas Vitulli. We lost our precious son on October 16th to a heart attack while he was hiking in Malawi, Africa. Nick loved life - he was always exploring and creating. He loved cars and music and his family. He was so very kind and joyful. If you knew Nick, you knew that he cared about you, that he was always there to help out and that he worked to make his world better. Nick is with Jesus now, but will be deeply missed by his parents; his brother Anthony and sister-in-law Stevie; his 85 cousins, 30 aunts and uncles, three grandparents; and by hundreds of others whose lives he touched with love and light.
Nicholas Henry Vitulli was born on February 28, 1992 in Kirkland, Washington. He was welcomed into the arms of his parents, Jayne and Kevin and his big brother, Anthony. From the very first moments, his eyes widened with wonder. He was a sweet and curious boy. Throughout his childhood, his imagination took him to fantastic places, places for which he invented the things he needed to travel there, and the appropriate costumes. Jayne recalls getting up in the morning and seeing Nicky fully dressed in an outfit made of paper armor and realized he must have been up for quite some time. Busy, happy, at play, his smile held the secret plans of his next adventure.
Nick read Lord of the Rings at a very young age, learning he was actually born in the wrong time and place. He loved knights, warriors, Star Wars and the constant struggle between good and evil, a battle that must be won. Nick had the swords to get the job done.
Nick had a childlike heart and he loved his toys - when his parents moved to Wenatchee just three years ago, he still wanted to keep all his toys, especially his beloved Legos. When he was young, Jayne and Kevin would buy him a Lego kit, and he would not even look at the directions; he had his own design in his mind. Many times when he finished, it looked cooler than the picture on the box.
When Nick was three, Kevin and Jayne were watching the movie Apollo 13. Nick liked rockets so they thought he would like to watch it too. He started watching the rockets but they noticed that he became bored and left the room. By the end of the movie, Nick ran in with a huge, intricate rocket he had made out of Legos.
He could make one plus one equal three and tell us why. Again, when he was about three he said, “Mom, mom, look! I wrote my name on the mirror.” Jayne couldn't read his name. Then she realized he’d written it in reverse somehow and she needed another mirror reflected on it to read it correctly. They knew we had a special kid. Nick’s imagination was amazing, and he loved to draw at a very young age. In minutes he could draw complex drawings of sword fighters and their entire worlds. He was happy and content playing with sticks in the back yard.
Just last month Jayne and Kevin saw a new, 30-inch high Lego design in his apartment. He had purchased a rare Lord of the Rings "Tower of Orthanc". It really was beautiful and he displayed it proudly in his living room. Nick was an intelligent, mature, hard working, responsible young man. He just decided to never let go of his childlike spirit.
During his school years, Nick’s imagination allowed him to picture himself doing just about anything. And he did. He wasn’t bothered by not being the very best, he just wanted to try things out for himself and do his best. He did swimming, basketball, archery, soccer, Taekwondo, baseball, tennis, golf and wrestling. He joined the Cub Scouts. He ran track and threw the shot-put. He enjoyed skiing and snowboarding. Nick turned out for football, where the coach admired his speed as Nick outran would-be tacklers because he did not want to get hit. The whole idea of hitting or being hit was not his gig. Anthony remembers a beaming and victorious Nick after he’d made a really good catch, looking as if from that one play, he’d conquered football forever.
Nick took the time to continually look for his gifts, and then he found music. He barely had any lessons and at his junior high, he entered a music room full of kids who had been in music for years. The band teacher asked, “What instrument do you want to play, Nick?” He remembered his older, super-cool cousin and said, “I think I’d like to play the bass.” He had found his people.
He picked music up very quickly. In high school he played in the orchestra and jazz band and by his senior year, he was chosen for the Maestro Award at a prominent music conference in San Diego. He also played for the Northshore Baptist Church music worship team. Nick had a house band with friends up in Jayne and Kevin’s ‘bonus room’. Lots of kids came and went and ate pizza and played music there. Nick went on to play in his college orchestra.
Nick graduated from Bothell High school in 2011 and Western Washington University in 2014. He worked at the assisted living facility where his Gradma Taffy lived and got to visit with her often. His job at Red Robin helped pay his way through college. He graduated with a degree in Management Information Systems. After that, he had an internship at Nuvodia doing IT support, then he went on to work for Expedia/Egencia, a job and work environment he grew to love because of the family of co-workers there.
Nick loved and appreciated each of his friends for their uniqueness and kept them close no matter what distance separated them. He had an inclusive nature that made people feel welcome and at ease. His first and best friend was his cousin, Sam. They ventured through their school years and joined up with Derek, who became Nick’s ‘brotha from anotha motha’. They were unstoppable.
Nick looked up to his big brother, Anthony, and relished growing closer to him every day. Not only were they brothers, but close friends that got together several times per week. When Anthony married Stevie, Nick gained a lifelong friend, loving sister and a worthy opponent at the game table.
Nick was known for wearing flannel and his love of classic muscle cars. His 1968 fire engine red mustang was a never ending work-in-progress. Well, ‘progress’ may be too strong a word. His dad, Kevin, had to give up coveted garage space and sometimes came home to a driveway strewn with auto parts.
Nicky’s faith was strong. He knew the love of Jesus and assurance of eternal life through that love. This scripture hung in his room from the age of twelve:
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the falling arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God”
Let Nick’s joyful nature overtake your pain, let it seep into your soul and change out the hurt. Kinda like the way he overcomes the game board when playing Settlers of Catan. It builds slowly, then all of a sudden he’s got the longest road, the most knights, the luckiest rolls and you know he’s gonna win. Nick always wins.
Nick’s family of friends has grown so wide that many of you, we’ve never met. Thank you so much for what you gave to Nick in your friendships. On behalf of all the Vitulli and Stolmeier families, we thank you so much for your love, friendship and care during this time. Your kindness and support will never be forgotten.
A memorial service for Nick is planned for Saturday October 29th at 1:00 PM at Northshore Community Church, 10301 NE 145th St, Kirkland.
"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. Take up the shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the falling arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God"
Love Lives On
Those we love remain with us,
for Love itself lives on.
Cherished memories never fade;
because one loved is gone.
Those we love can never be
more than a thought apart,
for as long as there's a memory
they live on in our heart.
Think of him as living
in the hearts of those he touched,
for nothing loved is ever lost,
and he was loved so much.