Covina, Calif. New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle was remembered as "a loving husband and an awesome father" at a memorial Tuesday attended by family, friends and teammates of the avid yet inexperienced pilot who was killed on an aerial tour of New York City.
Those at the 45-minute outdoor service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Lidle's hometown included Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and a contingent of Yankees: captain Derek Jeter, former high school teammate Jason Giambi, Jaret Wright, manager Joe Torre and general manager Brian Cashman. Also there were Oakland pitcher Barry Zito, Philadelphia teammates Pat Burrell and Chase Utley, and former Yankees pitcher Aaron Small.
None of the men famed for their prowess on the baseball field spoke at the service, leaving Lidle's family and friends to recall his fun-loving nature.
"I don't think much of it was about the baseball player," Jackson said afterward. "The nice thing was the way his family and friends spoke of him. It makes you reflect and appreciate life. He touched a lot of lives."
Lidle, 34, and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, were killed last Wednesday when the pitcher's small plane crashed into a high-rise building in Manhattan.
As the service began, three planes similar to the one Lidle owned appeared over the roof of the Mausoleum of Christian Heritage and flew above the crowd before disappearing into dark gray clouds. The planes later made two more passes.
Supported by another woman, Lidle's wife, Melanie, walked up to the gray casket adorned with a huge spray of white roses and Gerber daisies. She paused, then leaned heavily on the casket, shaking with sobs.
Mourners seated in rows of white chairs on the sprawling lawn that sloped down toward a busy freeway below watched, some in obvious anguish.
"Cory would have been so amazed at all the people here who admired him," said Brandy Peters, Melanie's sister. "He was a loving husband and an awesome father."