Me­mo­rial held for Al­to­belli fam­ily killed in Kobe crash

Antelope Valley Press - - SPORTS - By AMY TAXIN

ANA­HEIM — The smil­ing faces of base­ball coach John Al­to­belli, his wife, Keri, and daugh­ter Alyssa shone in photos and videos cast on screens at An­gel Sta­dium of them hit­ting the base­ball field, bas­ket­ball court and the beach.

But as friends and fam­ily re­mem­bered the cou­ple and their teenage daugh­ter killed in last month’s he­li­copter crash that also claimed the life of bas­ket­ball star Kobe Bryant, many couldn’t help but break into tears.

Sev­eral thou­sand people poured into the sta­dium in Ana­heim, Cal­i­for­nia, Mon­day for a pub­lic me­mo­rial hon­or­ing the award-win­ning coach of Or­ange Coast Col­lege base­ball, who was known for leading his team to four state ti­tles and help­ing his young play­ers grow and de­velop on and off the field. Scores of them were in the sta­dium, along with mem­bers of cur­rent lo­cal col­lege teams, wear­ing their jer­seys.

“We have no clue how many teach­ers, po­lice of­fi­cers, fire­fight­ers, dads and hus­bands that he helped de­velop along the way,” his long­time friend Josh Belovsky told the crowd.

“Those are the wins that he cher­ished the most.”

The 56-year-old coach known as “Alto” won more than 700 games dur­ing his 27 years coach­ing the team and was named coach of the year last year by the Amer­i­can Base­ball Coaches As­so­ci­a­tion.

Al­to­belli also man­aged the Brew­ster White­caps for three sea­sons in the Cape Cod Sum­mer League. Among the play­ers he coached there were New York Yan­kees slug­ger Aaron Judge and New York Mets in­fielder Jeff Mc­Neil.

The Al­to­bel­lis were among the nine people killed Jan. 26 when a he­li­copter car­ry­ing them to a youth bas­ket­ball tour­na­ment crashed in foggy weather out­side Los Angeles.

Bryant and his daugh­ter Gianna, Sarah Ch­ester and her daugh­ter Payton, Christina Mauser — who helped Bryant coach the teenage girls’ bas­ket­ball team — and he­li­copter pi­lot Ara Zobayan were also killed. A pub­lic me­mo­rial for the for­mer Lak­ers su­per­star, his daugh­ter and other vic­tims is sched­uled for Feb. 24 at Sta­ples Cen­ter.

On Mon­day, the me­mo­rial be­gan with the read­ing of the nine names of the vic­tims. From a podium cov­ered with flower bou­quets, photos and sports jer­seys, fam­ily and friends shared mem­o­ries and mes­sages of sup­port for Al­to­belli’s son J.J., a scout with the Bos­ton Red Sox, and a 16-yearold daugh­ter, Lexi.

Alyssa Al­to­belli, 14, at­tended En­sign In­ter­me­di­ate School in New­port Beach, which re­tired her jersey, and hoped to some­day at­tend the Univer­sity of Ore­gon.

As­so­ci­ated Press

RE­MEM­BER­ING — J.J. Al­to­belli, left, with his fi­ancee Carly Konigs­feld, right, and his sis­ter Lexi Al­to­belli, speaks at a me­mo­rial ser­vice hon­or­ing par­ents John and Keri and sis­ter Alyssa who were killed in a he­li­copter crash on Jan. 26.

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