Anthony P. Infante Jr.

Anthony P. Infante Jr.
World Trade Center

An Inspector in Shape

Anthony Infante, an inspector for the Port Authority Police, had gotten in shape for the New York City Marathon after laying off the race for a few years. His regained slimness came in handy as he ran up the stairwell of 1 World Trade Center, aiding victims. He was seen giving his coat to one man to protect him from burning materials.

Mr. Infante, 47, became a cadet with the Newark Police Department at 18. After staff cuts, he joined the Port Authority Police. As he progressed through its ranks, he attended college and then graduate school at night.

His last post was as the highest-ranking policeman at La Guardia and Kennedy Airports, when Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani was campaigning for the city Police Department to take over the job. Mr. Infante marshaled evidence to show his force was doing well.

"There is no issue with the police departments," he said. "It's with the mayor."

The mayor went to his funeral, where Mr. Infante was remembered as a nice guy. Paul Brady, a friend, recalled how Mr. Infante nursed him through a divorce. He had tried to say thanks.

"What, are you nuts?" Inspector Infante answered. "We're friends."

Profile published in THE NEW YORK TIMES on October 17, 2001.

Anthony Infante Jr., 47, gave life helping

As a child, Anthony Infante Jr. knew he would grow up to be a policeman.

For the past 20 years, he worked for the Port Authority, most recently, as a police inspector, rising to the rank of commanding officer for John F. Kennedy International Airport. Before that he was an officer in the Newark Police Department.

The morning of Sept. 11, Mr. Infante, 47, of Chatham, was attending a Port Authority meeting in Jersey City when he heard about the plane crashes at the Twin Towers, relatives said. He rushed to Manhattan to help, making it inside the North Tower in time to calm people as they descended.

"I got an e-mail," said his brother Andy, "from somebody saying that while they were going down the stairs, she saw (Anthony) going up the stairs, being very calm and assuring people that there was a way out, a clean exit to the street."

Asked to describe his younger brother, Andy Infante of Piscataway said, "In street terms, he's a stand-up guy. He's somebody that's always there for you, somebody that won't let you down. And he always wanted to be a cop."

His love for the job helped make him a happy man, said his wife, Joyce.

"There's so many people who go to work every day, put in the time, go home, and they spend 20 years putting in eight hours a day. My husband, though, he loved it, from the time he was 18 years old."

Mr. Infante was active in the lives of his two children, Marie, 23, and John Joseph, 19, and in the community. He coached his children's softball and basketball teams, did volunteer work for a soup kitchen, and was a religious school instructor at St. Patrick's Church in Chatham.

"He loved helping," said his daughter, Marie. "He was always helping people."

Mr. Infante attended night classes and earned a bachelor's degree from St. Peter's College in Jersey City and a master's degree from Seton Hall University.

"He set lofty goals for himself and accomplished them," Andy Infante said.

In addition to his wife, two children and oldest brother, Mr. Infante is survived by another older brother, Frederick Infante of Chatham, and by his parents, Anthony Peter and Elizabeth Infante of Basking Ridge.

A memorial Mass is scheduled for Tuesday at 7:30 a.m. at St. Teresa of Avila Church in Summit.

Profile by Jeff Diamant published in THE STAR-LEDGER.

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