COVINA, Calif. (AP) – Three small planes flew over mourners at a memorial Tuesday for Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle, a comforting reminder to his family, friends and teammates that he died doing something he loved.

Following Lidle’s funeral, hundreds of mourners did something else he loved, sat down to a luncheon of In-N-Out burgers, his favorite fast food.

The 34-year-old pitcher and his flight instructor, Tyler Stanger, were killed last Wednesday when Lidle’s plane crashed into a Manhattan high-rise during an aerial tour of the city.

“Everybody was doing fine until the planes went over,” Randy Wolf, Lidle’s former teammate on the Philadelphia Phillies, said after the funeral.

Emotions ran high among hundreds of mourners during a 45-minute outdoor service. Men wiped away tears from behind dark glasses, and knots of family members shared long embraces near Lidle’s gray casket, which was flanked by large color photos of the pitcher. Several people wore buttons with a photo of Lidle pitching and the words, “Forever in our hearts.”

Near the conclusion of the service, dark gray clouds gave way to pockets of sunny, blue skies – perfect flying weather.

“I was one guy who would have gone up with him,” said Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal, whose plan to fly with Lidle during spring training never came off.

“It’s just crazy to believe how something like that could happen,” he said later at the reception where mourners gathered to laugh, cry and swap stories.

Lidle’s wife, Melanie, briefly came out to thank those who had helped since her husband’s death. After thanking her sister, Brandie Peters, and the Yankees and Major League Baseball, she dissolved into heaving sobs and was helped away.

The couple’s 6-year-old son, Christopher, had hugged his mother during the service.

Among those at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Lidle’s hometown were 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.

“The nice thing was the way his family and friends spoke of him,” Jackson said afterward. “It makes you reflect and appreciate life. He touched a lot of lives.”

Jeter added: “It’s rough. I feel for the family. I played with him a short time, but it didn’t take long to see what kind of person he was.”

Since Lidle’s death, Torre said he has replayed the same image in his mind from New York’s loss to Detroit in the AL division series.

“I go out to the mound and gave him the ball and I went out to the mound and took the ball away for the last time,” Torre said. “We play a game and we think how important it is until you face something like this.”

Also there were Oakland pitcher Barry Zito, Philadelphia players Pat Burrell and Chase Utley and former Yankees pitcher Aaron Small, who attended South Hills High in Covina with Lidle and Giambi.

“He had a zest for life. It was exciting to be around him,” said Giambi, who lives a few blocks from the site of Lidle’s crash.

Lidle had been a licensed pilot for less than a year. The 26-year-old Stanger was a veteran pilot and teacher who ran a tiny flight school in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles. Investigators have not determined the cause of the crash or who was at the controls.

At the reception at Faith Community Church in West Covina, family and friends lined up outside a semitrailer for burgers from In-N-Out, the iconic, family owned Southern California chain.

“He was always bugging me to get him an endorsement,” said Jordan Feagan, Lidle’s agent and friend of 14 years.

During the service, family and friends mostly recalled Lidle’s life away from baseball.

“Cory would have been so amazed at all the people here who admired him,” said Peters, Melanie’s sister. “He was a loving husband and an awesome father.”

Two of Lidle’s longtime friends, Paul Felberg and Warren Reed, took turns speaking, calling him by his nickname “Snacks,” a reference to the pitcher’s habit of devouring candy between innings.

“We were more like the “Goonies’ than the entourage of studs you would expect him to be with,” Felberg said.

Both men promised Melanie Lidle they would always look after her and the couple’s son.

Small, the former Yankees pitcher, had been friends with Lidle and his twin brother, Kevin, since age 9. His father, Art, presided over the funeral.

“If there was a baseball game being played, me and Cory and Kevin were in it,” the younger Small said, his voice breaking. “Cory was more than a friend. He was like a little brother to me.”

Lidle pitched for seven teams during his nearly 10 years in the major leagues, posting an 82-72 record with a 4.57 ERA. He came to the Yankees in July, traded from Philadelphia, where he had signed a $6.3 million, two-year deal in November 2004.

Stanger’s survivors include his pregnant wife, Stephanie, and an infant daughter. A service for Stanger is set for Saturday.

Lidle’s family requested that donations be made to Stanger’s family.

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