JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) — A wake will be held Tuesday evening for former Major League Baseball pitcher and current Port Authority police officer Anthony Varvano, who was killed in a wrong-way drive on his way to the 9/11 memorial service.
Family and friends will pay their respects from 4 to 7 pm at Matthew Funeral Home on Staten Island.
There will be two other vigils on Wednesday from 14:00 to 17:00 and from 19:00 to 21:00, and a funeral Mass will be held at 10:30 am on Thursday in Our Lady of Good Counsel Church with interment to follow at St. Peter’s. Cemetery
Tributes continue to pour in for the 37-year-old officer, who grew up in Westerleigh on Staten Island and played six seasons of professional baseball after a standout collegiate career at St.
Varvaro retired in 2016 after stints with the Seattle Mariners, Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox and went on to join the Port Authority Police Department.
The crash happened early Sunday morning on the New Jersey Turnpike Hudson Bay Extension East in Jersey City, where police say 30-year-old Henry Plazas, of Bridgewater, was traveling west in the eastbound lanes when he struck Varvano’s car.
Both drivers were killed.
The head baseball coach of St. John Mike Hampton said he was “at a loss for words” over Varvaro’s death.
“Not only was he everything you could want in a ballplayer, he was everything you could want in a person,” said Hampton, who was an assistant coach at St. John’s for all three of Barbarian’s seasons there. “My heart goes out to his family, friends, teammates and fellow officers.”
Port Authority officials said in a statement that Varvaro “represented the best of this agency, and will be remembered for his courage and commitment to service.”
“On this solemn occasion, when the Port Authority mourns the loss of 84 employees in the attacks on the World Trade Center – including 37 members of the Port Authority Police Department – our grief only deepens today with the passing of officer Varvaro,” said the statement. by Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole and Executive Director Rick Cotton.
Varvaro, who studied criminal justice at St. John’s and graduated in 2005, told the student newspaper, The Torch, in December 2016 that he inquired about police jobs at the Port Authority while pitching in the majors.
“I figured I had a pretty successful career in baseball,” he told the newspaper. “I played a few seasons, and I was good to move on to the next step of my life.”
Port Authority officials said Varvaro became a police officer in December 2016 and was assigned to patrol for nearly five years before transferring to the Port Authority Police Academy to become an instructor.
He also worked with Little Leaguers.
“We are saddened to announce the passing of our President, Friend, Coach, Husband and Father Anthony Varvaro,” said Sailor’s Snug Harbor Little League. “The Snug Harbor LL community is deeply saddened by the loss of Anthony. Not only was Anthony the President, he was a tremendous person. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers.”
He leaves behind a wife and four children.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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