JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) — A vigil will be held Tuesday night for former Major League Baseball pitcher and current Port Authority police officer Anthony Varvano, who was killed in a ghost accident en route to the 9/11 memorial.
Family and friends will pay their respects from 4 PM to 7 PM at Matthew Funeral Home on Staten Island.
Two further vigils will be held on Wednesdays from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and a funeral mass will be held at 10:30 am Thursday at the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel followed by internment at St. Peter’s Cemetery.
Tributes continue to pour in for the 37-year-old officer, who grew up in Westerleigh, Staten Island, and played six seasons of professional baseball after a distinguished collegiate career at St. John’s.
Varvaro retired in 2016 after stints with the Seattle Mariners, Atlanta Braves and Boston Red Sox and later joined the Port Authority Police Department.
The crash happened early Sunday morning on the New Jersey Turnpike Hudson Bay Extension East in Jersey City, where Henry Plazas, 30, of Bridgewater, was traveling west in the eastbound lanes when he struck Varvano’s car head-on.
Both drivers were killed.
St. John’s head baseball coach Mike Hampton said he “had no words” about Varvaro’s death.
“Not only was he everything you could want in a ball player, he was everything you could want in a person,” said Hampton, who was an assistant coach at St. John’s for all three Varvaro’s seasons there. “My heart goes out to his family, friends, teammates and colleagues.”
Port Authority officials said in a statement that Varvaro “represented the very best of this agency and will be remembered for his courage and dedication to service.”
“On this solemn occasion, as the Port Authority mourns the loss of 84 employees in the attacks on the World Trade Center – including 37 members of the Port Authority’s police – our sadness is only deepened today with the death of Officer Varvaro,” the statement said. by Port Authority chairman Kevin O’Toole and executive director Rick Cotton.
Varvaro, who studied criminal law at St. John’s and graduated in 2005, told student newspaper The Torch in December 2016 that he inquired about police positions at the Port Authority while pitching in the majors.
“I thought I had a pretty successful career in baseball,” he told the paper. “I had played for several seasons and it was fine to move on to the next step in my life.”
Port Authority officials said Varvaro became a police officer in December 2016 and patrolled 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 community of Snug Harbor LL is deeply saddened by the loss of Anthony. Anthony was not only the president, he was a wonderful person. Please keep his family in mind and prayers.”
He leaves behind a wife and four children.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
RELATED | 9/11 21 years on: reflections, photos and stories
* Get eyewitness news delivered
* More New Jersey news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for the latest news alert
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News
Copyright © 2022 WABC TV. All rights reserved.