Wake held for ex-MLB pitcher-turned-cop Anthony Varvaro

Anthony Varvaro, the Port Authority police officer who was killed by a wrong-way driver while en route to the 9/11 memorial in Manhattan, was remembered as a “father of the family” and a “role model” at this Staten Island wake Tuesday.

Around 300 mourners waited online at the Matthew Funeral Home in Westerleigh to pay their respects to Varvaro, who was a Major League Baseball pitcher before becoming a police officer in his home county.

Family, friends and crowds of Varvaro’s brothers in blue cried as they looked at white billboards adorned with photos of the late officer playing baseball, posing with family and friends and enjoying time on the beach.

Two PAPD officers stand stoically at the wake.
Mourning police officers fought back tears at the Matthew Funeral Home in Westerleigh.
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Varvato's family saw her exit an SUV.
Two of Varvato’s children wore baseball jerseys with the late pitcher’s name on them.
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Varvaro, 37, was remembered as a “great officer” by Port Authority Police Superintendent Edward Cetnar.

“I mean, there are no words you can say. We’re here for support,” Cetnar told reporters outside the funeral home.

“And as a police family [we’ll] doing what we can for the family,” Cetnar said, referring to his widow Kerry and their four children — AJ, Johnny, Christina and Savannah.

“I couldn’t imagine being in that young lady’s position now with four young children. And we can never forget this young man’s service to us,” Cetnar said.

Varvaro was described by a lifelong family friend as a “calm and quiet” family man who was devoted to his children.

He always wanted to be an officer after playing with the majors for six years so he could spend more time with his family, said the friend, who identified as Nubia.

“Even though we knew he always wanted football or baseball, he also always wanted to be a cop,” Nubia said of Anthony.

“He wanted to be a family man. He didn’t want to be gone all the time. His priority was his children,” Nubia said. “He didn’t like being away.”

Six members of the PAPD stand in line at the wake.
Dozens of members of the PAPD paid their respects to Varvaro.
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Varvaro in his PAPD uniform.
Varvaro had a passion for police and community service and enjoyed spending more time with his family after his baseball career ended.
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Varvaro earned a criminal justice degree from St. John’s University before being called up to the big leagues for six years. The back-up pitcher spent most of his time with the Atlanta Braves, but also played ball for the Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox.

“It’s an amazing quality for him that where he came from – playing major league baseball on the biggest stage in the world – and then his dream was to be a police officer, and he followed that dream after he got his dream to become a professional baseball player,” said Zentrum.

Varvaro seen with the Braves on the hill.
Varvaro played in the major leagues for six years, primarily with the Atlanta Braves.
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Edward Cetnar speaks to the media
Port Authority Police Department Superintendent Edward Cetnar recalled Varvato as a “great officer.”
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After joining the force, Varvaro gave back to the community by mentoring children at the department’s youth academy.

“Recently, he was one of the key instructors in our youth academy that we just started and served as a role model for children in the community,” Cetnar added.

Varvaro was killed near exit 14C of the New Jersey Turnpike around 4:25 a.m. Sunday while making his way to the World Trade Center to protect the annual solemn memorial ceremony.

Henry Plazas, 30, of Bridgewater, NJ, was also killed in the crash, police said. He is said to have been going the wrong way on the turnpike when he hit Varvaro head-on.

“The coincidence that this happened on 9/11 when he was on his way to a security detail to pay homage to the people we will never forget – we lost 37 officers that day – and he was part of the security detail for it,” Cenar said.

A second wake was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon before a funeral service at the Church of Our Lady of Good Counsel and a funeral at St. Peter’s Cemetery on Thursday.

https://nypost.com/2022/09/13/wake-held-for-ex-mlb-pitcher-turned-cop-anthony-varvaro/ Wake held for ex-MLB pitcher-turned-cop Anthony Varvaro

JACLYN DIAZ

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