John Altobelli

Altobelli Family Members Killed in Helicopter Crash Honored at Angel Stadium

John and Keri Altobelli, and the couple's 14-year-old daughter Alyssa, had forged a bond with Kobe Bryant that was rooted in their love of sports.

What to Know

  • John and Keri Altobelli, and their 14-year-old daughter Alyssa, are being remembered Monday at an Angel Stadium memorial
  • The group was flying from Orange County to the Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park
  • John Altobelli coached baseball at Orange Coast College for nearly 30 years, racking up 700 wins and four state titles

Three members of a beloved Orange County family who were among nine people killed when a helicopter crashed on a hillside in Calabasas will be remembered at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.

A public memorial for John and Keri Altobelli, and the couple's 14-year-old daughter Alyssa, is scheduled for 4 p.m. The Altobellis were traveling with former Lakers star Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and four others when the helicopter crashed Jan. 26 in foggy conditions, killing everyone on board.

The group was flying from Orange County to the Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park. Alyssa and Gianna were teammates, aspiring young athletes who shared their families' passion for sports.

The 45,000-seat stadium is a fitting location to honor a family with close ties to Orange County and the baseball community.

John Altobelli, 56, coached baseball for 27 years at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa. The Pirates won four state titles and more than 700 games under Altobelli, who was honored with a moment of silence before the team's season opener just days after the tragic crash.

The college's baseball foundation started a fundraiser to help the family with expenses and the team has placed a banner bearing his No. 14 on the outfield wall.

They made everyone feel like an Altobelli or a Pirate

OCC interim coach Nate Johnson

More than 2,000 people attended the game, including the Altobellis' son J.J., a scout with the Boston Red Sox, and 16-year old daughter Lexi. They received hugs from each team member after the emotional game.

“They made everyone feel like an Altobelli or a Pirate," interim manager Nate Johnson said in a pregame ceremony. "That’s why so many people are wearing 14 today. I know if (Keri) were here she would be judging me on everything I’d be doing. (Keri) really ran this team."

Altobelli's brother, Tony Altobelli, works for the college's sports public relations department. He posted a touching tribute delivered as a thank-you letter to his brother.

"He worked hard at what he did, everything he did," said John Altobelli's father, Jim.

Alyssa's goal was to attend Oregon because her favorite basketball player was college hoops star Sabrina Ionescu. J.J. attended Oregon after playing for his father at Orange Coast.

Alyssa Altobelli died in the helicopter crash on Sunday that also claimed the lives of her mother and father. Hetty Chang reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020.

Johnson told the OC Register that Alyssa and sister Alexis were batgirls for their father's team. He described the Altobellis as the First Family of OCC.

Alyssa was in the eighth grade at Ensign Intermediate School.

Monday's memorial is free to attend and open to the public.

"Needless to say, there will be plenty of room so if you'd like to be a part of this, we'd love to have you," Tony Altobelli, John's brother and OCC sports information director, posted on Facebook.

Parking will be available on the Angel Stadium lots off State College Boulevard and Orangewood Avenue. The public can enter through the home plate gate.

In addition to the Altobellis and Bryants, the crash killed Sarah Chester and daughter Payton, who also played basketball, coach Christina Mauser and Ara Zobayan.

A memorial for the victims is scheduled for Feb. 24 at Staples Center.

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