Thousands of people throughout the Orange County community packed the field level seats behind third base in Angel Stadium to pay tribute to the members of the Altobelli family that were victims in the Calabasas helicopter accident on Jan. 26.
The Celebration of life was led by family friends, surviving children and the Altobelis’ pastor who all gave tribute to the lasting legacy the Altobelli family had on the Orange County community.
First responders from the Anaheim Police Dept. and Anaheim Fire and Rescue provided their support with fire engines draping the American flag in front of the entrance to Angel Stadium. Anaheim police officers were out in uniform providing a secure presence.
Among those attending were the members of eight local community college baseball programs from the Orange Empire Conference.
Members from Fullerton College’s baseball program and community such as retired Head Coach Nick Fuscardo and current Head Coach Chad Baum were in attendance.
One particular player from the Hornets, freshman pitcher Bryce Barnett, was deeply moved during the service and was comforted by the faith in God they displayed throughout their life.
“They were a religious family and obligated to God; there is hope for them that they will be in heaven,” insisted Barnett. “I am a Christian myself, so it was good to hear that. It still hits me hard when I hear from the people that knew [John, Keri, and Alyssa Altobelli].”
The message consistently being made was that John, Keri and Alyssa were hard workers devoted to their work and passions, but always made necessary time for family and friends.
Clarke Smith, John’s best friend, gave a touching eulogy about “Coach Alto’s” influence.
“Whether you were a player, coach or friend; he made everyone feel important as if they were a part of his family.”
Lori Lever, Keri’s best friend for the past 15 years, gave an emotional eulogy for Keri and the legacy she left.
“The only thing Keri truly cared about was her family,” stated Lever. “She will be so missed by her family and friends but will be remembered for her incredible devotion to those she loved.”
Sammy Forbath, Alyssa’s best friend, gave a heartwarming recount of the memories they made together since sixth grade. Both girls were constantly engaged in their sports activities. At school, they would use what little time they had together to be silly and playful kids who just wanted to have fun.
The Altobelli family definitely left their mark on the Orange County community and people believe that they’d be watching over them even after death.
“Today we are not in Angel Stadium,” said family friend Guy Leonard. “Pretend that A out there stands for Altobelli Stadium.”