The DEA Honor Roll
Official Line of Duty Deaths
William J. Holfester
Shield Number: 2857
Command: Manhattan North Narcotics
Date of Death: 01/22/2008
Cause of Death: Illnesses contracted as a result of work on the rescue and recovery from the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001.
Long Island native Det. William J. (“Billy”) Holfester was recognized 11 times for excellent and meritorious police duty during his 18-year NYPD career. His work included 380 arrests, 213 of which were for felonies. Appointed to the force October 15, 1990, he earned his gold shield on May 27, 1998. He was a tenured and well-respected member of Manhattan North Narcotics, serving in its Major Case Unit, where he was known as serious, extremely hardworking and industrious, and recognized for his wide range of investigative skills. He previously served in the 81st Precinct and the First Precinct, where he was assigned at the time of the World Trade Center attacks. On January 22, 2008, he passed away from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma contracted as a result of his work on the rescue and recovery efforts, and the long hours he put in at Ground Zero and the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island. The disease caused his hulking six-foot-four-inch, 230-pound frame to diminish to 80 pounds in only 18 months. But, colleagues note, he remained characteristically stoic to the end. Det. Holfester’s name was added and unveiled on the NYPD Memorial Wall and in Albany in May of 2009. A private and family-oriented man with a dry sense of humor, Det. Holfester was survived by his mother, sister, wife, daughter, son, and three grandchildren. In addition to his other skills, Holfester was also an Emergency Medical Technician before he joined the NYPD. At the time of his death, Det. Holfester was 43 years old. He is buried at Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Center Moriches, New York.