The Goldsboro Police Department paused to remember and celebrate the life of the late Maj. Jay Memmelaar, who passed away from a heart attack one year ago on Friday.

While working in his office, Memmelaar suddenly became ill and was taken to Wayne UNC Health Care where he later died.

At 49, Memmelaar was a 26-year law enforcement veteran and was in charge of the department's Support Services.

Members of the police department along with Memmelaar's family gathered at the flagpole in front of police headquarters on South John Street for a time of reflection Friday morning.

It was a day filled with heavy hearts for the entire department as they remembered one of their own, who was taken too soon. They remembered Memmelaar as a man with a heart of gold and one who loved his family and the men and women of the police department.

During the memorial, Memmelaar's daughter, Maria, spoke about her daddy and all that the department meant to him and the community that he proudly served.

Operations Maj. Dwayne Dean said that Memmelaar was like a brother to him and that they came through the ranks together.

"(There) is not a day that goes by that I don't think of him. I miss him dearly," Dean said.

Memmelaar and Dean both began their careers together, first attending basic law enforcement training. Memmelaar was an avid sports fan -- his favorite NFL team was the New England Patriots, and he loved cheering on the Tar Heels of UNC.

Dean said that Memmelaar was wise beyond his years.

"He could have been police chief, but he was happy serving in the position that he served in. Any police department would have loved to have had him as their police chief," Dean said.

Memmelaar's younger brother, Nat Memmelaar, followed in his footsteps with a career in law enforcement. He currently works as a police officer with the Smithfield Police Department.

On May 3, Memmelaar will be remembered during the Peace Officer Memorial Service at Peace Church in Wilson.

His family, along with officers from the department, will take part in the memorial. He will also be remembered during Police Week in Washington, D.C., on May 15. This is a time when the nation pauses to remember law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

Memmelaar left behind a loving wife, Irene Memmelaar, and two children, Chris and Maria. Chris currently serves in the United States Navy.