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'Always Helped People Out': Retired NYSP Sergeant Dies From 9/11-Related Illness At Age 42

Retired New York State Police Sgt. Ivan Morales died Friday, Oct. 28, at the age of 42 from a 9/11-related illness.
Retired New York State Police Sgt. Ivan Morales died Friday, Oct. 28, at the age of 42 from a 9/11-related illness. Photo Credit: United States Navy/Millspaugh Camerato Funeral Home

Just two months after joining the New York City Police Department in the summer of 2001, Ivan Morales was among countless first responders who descended on the mangled debris and rubble of the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, working tirelessly to find survivors and recover the remains of those who died.

Twenty-one years later, Morales, a resident of Catskill in Greene County, died at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center at the age of 42 after a “courageous” battle with an illness stemming from his assignment at the site, his obituary said.

Morales spent nearly four years with the NYPD before joining the New York State Police on Valentine’s Day 2005, the agency said in a tribute on Facebook

He was a sergeant assigned to Troop T, based in Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County, when he retired 17 years later in October 2022. 

"Ivan loved nothing more than being a dad and watching the New York Yankees," reads his memorial.

On the day after his death, a motorcade of both State Police and NYPD gathered at the New York City hospital to pay their respects before escorting Morales' body to a funeral home in Jefferson Heights. More police officers, firefighters, and members of the public lined the Thruway exit ramp in Catskill as his hearse passed by. 

Loved ones and former colleagues have shared memories of the husband and father of two, and offered their condolences on his online memorial wall.

“Ivan loved his family and was so proud of his kids' accomplishments,” Patty Flynt wrote. “We would talk family then baseball during our shifts together. We had each other's back.”

“Ivan, it was a pleasure working with you during your time in Catskill and your periodic check-ins from the Thruway,” reads another tribute from Jessika Loucks.

“He was a great guy, always helped people out,” Debra Woodbeck wrote. “Going to miss him. My condolences to you and your family.”

Morales is survived by his wife, Kristi Morales; two children; sister Maria; and grandparents Demetrio and the late Maria Morales, his memorial said.

Funeral services were held Thursday, Nov. 3, at Community Life Church in Catskill.

According to his obituary, memorial contributions in Morales’ name can be made to Greene County Women's League Cancer Patient Aid or Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

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