In one of his last phone calls from the Port Washington hospice where he lived out his final days, Ray Pfeifer of Hicksville dialed Jon Stewart’s cell phone. The retired NYC firefighter had one final request for the comedian: deliver the eulogy at his funeral.
And so it was that on the first Friday in June, at the Holy Family Church in Hicksville, Stewart stood at the lectern and moved and entertained those mourning Pfeifer, 59, who died from 9/11-related cancers on Sunday, May 28. Pfeifer had spent many months at Ground Zero, which we now know was toxic, and has claimed more victims with each passing year.
Pfeifer and the comic had partnered to successfully get an extension of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act past a recalcitrant U.S. Senate in 2015. The act funds medical treatment for responders and survivors who have and will experience 9/11 health complications. It had passed in 2010 and signed into law by President Obama in 2011, but it had sunset provisions. Stewart, through his Daily Show, was given credit for helping to pass the original law when it stalled in Congress.