State police memorialize fallen troopers

Mary Falb, right, the widow of New York State Trooper Brian Falb, and their children view the memorial stone for Trooper Falb that Maj. John Tibbitts Jr., left, unveiled Friday outside Troop B headquarters in Ray Brook. (Enterprise photo — Chris Knight)

RAY BROOK — Trooper Brian Falb and other members of state police Troop B who have died in the line of duty were honored Friday during the troop’s annual Memorial Day ceremony.

A light rain was falling, and Falb’s widow Mary and their four children stood by as Troop B Commander Maj. John Tibbitts Jr. unveiled a plaque bearing Falb’s name at the memorial stone on the lawn in front of the troop’s headquarters.

“The memorial stone around which we are gathered represents a lasting tribute to those members who have faithfully completed their final patrol and now rest eternally in the company of God,” Tibbitts said.

Since the founding of the New York State Police in 1917, 138 of its members have died in the line of duty, including three since the last memorial service: Falb, Investigator Paul Stuewer of Troop NYC and Trooper Timothy Pratt of Troop G.

Falb, 47, of Morrisonville, died on March 13 after a year-long battle with brain cancer that he developed after his assignment to the search and recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York City. Falb had served with the state police for 18 years, all of it in Troop B.

Tibbitts presented Mary Falb with a flag that was flown over the state Capitol in memory of her husband, and the major later joined retired Sgt. John O’Dell, president of the Former Troopers Association-Adirondack Chapter, in placing a wreath at the memorial.

A total of 14 members of Troop B have died in the line of duty since it was formed in 1921, Tibbitts said. Family members of other fallen troopers were in the audience for Friday’s ceremony, including the parents of Trooper Lawrence Gleason, who was shot and killed while responding to a domestic dispute in Crown Point in 2002, and parents and family members of Trooper Shawn Snow, who was fatally electrocuted in 2008 after he stopped to help a driver change a flat tire.

“Their sacrifices remind us all of the risks in our chosen profession,” Tibbitts said. “It is our collective wish that no additional stone ever be placed here to honor another Troop B member.”

The troop has held an annual memorial service each year since 2001.