PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) _ Friends and relatives packed Trinity Church on Saturday to remember Edward Anthony States, the American Airlines pilot who died when his jetliner plunged into a New York neighborhood last week.

Family members said he considered flying his ``dream career.''

The memorial service was so crowded that many who attended watched on two television screens set up in another church building.

States' wife, Mary, described him as a dedicated family man who coached Little League and was a precise and accomplished carpenter. He and his 10-year-old son, Bradley, recently built a dozen desks for the church.

The couple met in the Air Force.

``He stood like a pillar with the strength of a giant,'' she said. ``He was a great husband and my best friend.''

States retired from the Air Force in the late 1980s with the rank of captain. As a reservist, he flew cargo missions during Operation Desert Storm.

Flight 587 was en route from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport to the Dominican Republic when it crashed shortly after takeoff. All 260 people aboard the plane and five on the ground were killed.

Investigators are continuing to probe the cause of the crash.