January 3 2020

Obituary: 9/11 Responder, Beloved Family Man, Ryan Dan Fortini, 42

Editor’s note: As reported, Ryan Fortini, 42, of who grew up in Burlington, passed away on New Year’s Day from complications stemming from his work at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks. 


Here is his obituary from Sullivan Funeral Home


Ryan Dan Fortini, 42, a retired New York State Police Trooper who passed away on January 1, 2020 from illnesses stemming from his assignment to the World Trade Center, following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.


Ryan was born in Cambridge, MA on July 27th, 1977 to his loving parents Edwin and Doreen Fortini. Ryan lived his life with loyalty, passion, and a pinch of mischief. He stood by his family, friends, dogs, and police Brothers with his whole heart and soul. 


Following the events of 9/11, Investigator Ryan Fortini was assigned to aid with the search and recovery efforts in New York City, as part of the New York State Police Detail.  Ryan entered into retirement from the New York State Police after 16 years of service on July 15, 2015, because of his worsening illness. During his more than 15 years of service, Ryan was assigned to Troop K and then to Community Narcotics Enforcement Team in the  NYS Hudson Valley.


Ryan was proud to serve as a First Responder during 9/11 and as a NY State Trooper for many years. He fought like a warrior and died a hero. Ryan never had regrets. He would do it all over again if he had to.


Our earliest memories of Ryan are of his dimples showing as he slowly snuck his foot over any line there was in life. He had a devilish sense of humor and a tendency to mostly follow the rules. It became obvious early on that he loved his animals as much as they did him in return.  From the days of working at a pet store, when Ryan brought home a poor rabbit that nobody else would adopt because it had a crooked face, Ryan proved he was an animal lover. He also made “friends” with all the Burlington police as he drove around town too fast in his red Jeep Wrangler that he bought entirely with his own money. He had a strong work ethic at such a young age. He was so smart and determined to serve others. When Ryan graduated from Burlington High School in 1995, he soon enlisted in the Army National Guard Military Police at just 17. He served proudly for six honorable years while also accelerating college, graduating from UMass Lowell in just three and a half years. Ryan was determined to go the police academy as soon as possible after graduation.  As a young child, he knew he wanted to be a police officer to help others. Police work was always his love and will forever be the work of which he was most proud. 


Some people may not know this, but Ryan had a flare for decorating, and before getting sick, he loved to cook and bake. Who says a Trooper can’t wear an apron? He was a fiercely loyal brother to his two siblings, often going above and beyond the average duties of a sibling.  One year, Ryan took it upon himself to play tooth fairy to his older sister who refused to believe the truth. Always thinking about his siblings’ feelings, Ryan kept the farce going one more year for her. He and his older brother shared many memories during childhood, as Ryan loved to tag along; he was always happy to be the punching bag for all the neighborhood boys who wanted to practice their upper cuts. Ryan sure used to give the babysitters a run for their money too, once begging one of them to light fireworks in the street! 


Ryan was very close to his parents and talked to them both on a daily basis.  He would have done anything for his parents whom he loved dearly. When Ryan became ill, his mother was by his side every day during his treatments.  Ryan and his mom shared a love of travel, good food, and the perfect paint color. Ryan and his dad shared quiet moments and a deep understanding and appreciation of each other that outsiders never understood. 


When Ryan met his fiancé, Caitlin, he was like a little boy with a first crush. Caitlin was by Ryan’s side through thick and thin, always there for him in his times of need. He loved her so much and would always tell his family how grateful he was to have her in his life. Caitlin gracefully shared her family with Ryan; her ieces and nephews quickly became his own. He adored them and they adored him. Ryan loved the dogs he and Caitlin shared. He loved being with family and hanging out with his nieces and nephews. Every year he would add to their “Precious Moments” birthday trains. This was a gift the kids treasured and looked forward to every year. He was always so proud of their accomplishments and would text them often to just say hello. He also liked to crack a good joke at the expense of his brother and sister-in laws.  


From the days when Ryan was hung on a coat hook by his adoring grandfather for misbehaving, to getting into mischief in the woods behind his childhood home, every day with Ryan was a new adventure. 


Ryan loved his Trooper Brothers and “the job”. He lived it. He breathed it.  


Ryan made us all proud. We will always love him and honor him and his ultimate sacrifice.


Those left to cherish Ryan’s memory are his parents, Edwin and Doreen Fortini; fiance, Caitlin McGuire; brother, Matthew Fortini (Neela); sister, Joy Wilson (Brian); nieces and nephews, Isabelle Wilson, Caitlin Fortini, Collin Fortini, McKenna Wilson, and Isla and Caden Masiello


A visitation will be held at St. Margaret’s Church, 111 Winn St, Burlington (exit 34 off Rt. 128/95, Woburn side) on Tuesday, January 7 from 4-8 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held in St. Margaret’s Church on Wednesday, January 8 at 10 a.m.  Services will conclude with a burial in Lakeside Cemetery, Wakefield, MA. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Ryan’s name may be made to the Make A Wish Foundation, 133 Federal St., 2nd Floor, Boston, MA 02110 or www.massri.wish.org. For directions see www.stmargaretburlington.org.


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