Sarah Chester was “the one that everybody counted on.” Her daughter Payton was “the gentlest person you would ever meet.”
La Serna High football coach Andy George described his sister and 13-year-old niece, who were among the nine people from Orange County who died Sunday in the helicopter crash in Calabasas that killed Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
George, who just a couple months ago led his team to the CIF Southern Section Division 6 championship game and was named the Whittier Daily News coach of the year, discussed the heartbreak his family experienced.
George is two years older than his sister Sarah, who was 45. Sarah Chester is survived by her husband Chris and her two boys Hayden and Riley, both 16, who go to St. Margaret’s Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano. She is also survived by her mother Cathy George, and another brother, also named Chris.
“We’re just sad, I mean, we’re heartbroken,” Andy George said Monday. “It’s starting to settle in a little bit, but I’m still in disbelief. We were always trying to be there for each other and we were really close.
“She’s the one that everybody counted on. She was there for everyone. She was everything to her family, to our family. Anytime I needed anything, she was the person I went to.”
George said his sister Sarah attended La Serna High School and was a standout soccer player on the school team. Her family resided in Orange County.
“I’m going to miss her so much, I already do,” George continued. “She’s strong, kind, intelligent, funny, beautiful, and was everything to us.”
George said his niece Payton loved basketball and said she had played with Bryant’s Mamba team for some time. He said his sister and her family got to know the Bryant family well.
“She was on the Mamba team for years, she loved it,” George said of Payton. “It was obviously a big part of her life. He (Bryant) was always there for them. (Payton) wanted to play in high school and college.
“It’s just so hard to believe they’re gone.”
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