Hundreds mourn New Mexico woman killed in Southwest flight

 
 
Updated 4/22/2018 9:58 PM
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  • Michael Riordan, center, is joined by family members at a memorial service for his wife Jennifer Riordan, who died on Tuesday in the Southwest Airlines flight 1380 accident, at Popejoy Hall on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, April 22, 2018. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

    Michael Riordan, center, is joined by family members at a memorial service for his wife Jennifer Riordan, who died on Tuesday in the Southwest Airlines flight 1380 accident, at Popejoy Hall on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, April 22, 2018. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/The Albuquerque Journal via AP) Associated Press

  • FILE - In this 2017 file photo, Jennifer Riordan, of Albuquerque, N.M., poses for a photo in Albuquerque. Family and friends will gather Sunday, April 22, 2018 to mourn Riordan, an Albuquerque bank executive who died after the Southwest Airlines plane she was on blew an engine in midair. The evening service for Riordan will be held at the Popejoy Hall on the University of New Mexico campus, her alma mater. (Marla Brose/The Albuquerque Journal via AP, File)

    FILE - In this 2017 file photo, Jennifer Riordan, of Albuquerque, N.M., poses for a photo in Albuquerque. Family and friends will gather Sunday, April 22, 2018 to mourn Riordan, an Albuquerque bank executive who died after the Southwest Airlines plane she was on blew an engine in midair. The evening service for Riordan will be held at the Popejoy Hall on the University of New Mexico campus, her alma mater. (Marla Brose/The Albuquerque Journal via AP, File) Associated Press

  • ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, APRIL 22 - In this April 12, 2018 photo, from left, Dean Wilkinson, his grandsons Kyle and Cameron, and his son Jason pose in front of their respective dirt-track race cars on their farm on the southwest edge of Oakdale, Neb. (Jake Wragge/The Norfolk Daily News via AP)

    ADVANCE FOR USE SUNDAY, APRIL 22 - In this April 12, 2018 photo, from left, Dean Wilkinson, his grandsons Kyle and Cameron, and his son Jason pose in front of their respective dirt-track race cars on their farm on the southwest edge of Oakdale, Neb. (Jake Wragge/The Norfolk Daily News via AP) Associated Press

  • Mourners gather in the lobby of Popejoy Hall on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., for the memorial service for Jennifer Riordan who lost her life on Tuesday April 17, on Southwest Airlines flight 1380. (Katy Barnitz/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

    Mourners gather in the lobby of Popejoy Hall on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., for the memorial service for Jennifer Riordan who lost her life on Tuesday April 17, on Southwest Airlines flight 1380. (Katy Barnitz/The Albuquerque Journal via AP) Associated Press

  • Michael Riordan, center, is joined by family members at a memorial service for his wife Jennifer Riordan, who died on Tuesday in the Southwest Airlines flight 1380 accident, at Popejoy Hall on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, April 22, 2018. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

    Michael Riordan, center, is joined by family members at a memorial service for his wife Jennifer Riordan, who died on Tuesday in the Southwest Airlines flight 1380 accident, at Popejoy Hall on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, April 22, 2018. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/The Albuquerque Journal via AP) Associated Press

  • Cathryn McGill, standing, performs a song at a memorial service for his wife Jennifer Riordan, who died on Tuesday in the Southwest Airlines flight 1380 accident, at Popejoy Hall on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, April 22, 2018. From second left are Jennifer's son, Joshua, husband, Michael and daughter Avrie Riordan. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/The Albuquerque Journal via AP)

    Cathryn McGill, standing, performs a song at a memorial service for his wife Jennifer Riordan, who died on Tuesday in the Southwest Airlines flight 1380 accident, at Popejoy Hall on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, N.M., Sunday, April 22, 2018. From second left are Jennifer's son, Joshua, husband, Michael and daughter Avrie Riordan. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/The Albuquerque Journal via AP) Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Family and friends gathered Sunday to mourn an Albuquerque bank executive who died after the Southwest Airlines plane she was on blew an engine in midair.

Nearly a thousand people attended the evening service for Jennifer Riordan, 43, the Albuquerque Journal reported . The service was held at Popejoy Hall on the University of New Mexico campus, her alma mater.

"We appreciate the outpouring of support from the community. It truly touches our hearts," the Riordan family wrote in a statement. "We know there are many in the community who want to celebrate Jennifer."

Lt. Gov. John Sanchez presented Michael Riordan with a flag that was flown at half-staff at New Mexico's Capitol in Jennifer Riordan's memory.

"She was considered a friend, colleague, and pillar of the community and will be forever missed," Sanchez said.

The community leader and mother of two had been heading home from a business trip Tuesday on a flight from New York's LaGuardia Airport bound for Dallas.

Early in the flight as the plane was at 32,000 feet (9,754 meters), one of its twin engines suddenly exploded. The impact showered the jet with debris and shattered the window next to Riordan.

Authorities said Riordan was fatally injured when she was sucked partway through the window, sending passengers scrambling to help her as the aircraft shook violently and went into a rapid descent. The plane made an emergency landing in Philadelphia. Riordan was the only one of the 149 people on board who suffered fatal injuries.

The National Transportation Safety Board believes one of the engine fan blades snapped.

Riordan was well known in the Albuquerque area for an established career in community engagement and volunteerism. She served as vice president of community relations for Wells Fargo's New Mexico operations. She oversaw the company's corporate giving program in New Mexico and volunteered her time with a number of area nonprofit groups and boards.

"She was the face of giving. If you were an idea or a dream that needed a little help, she was your gal. Her currency was compassion," said Albuquerque poet laureate Hakim Bellamy, who read an original poem at the memorial. "The kind of kindness that folds like a hug like a laugh like her wings before she was so close to heaven that the angles recognized her and plucked her from the sky."

Jennifer Riordan graduated from the University of New Mexico with a communications degree in 1999 and previously worked as the media relations manager at UNM Hospital.

Jennifer Riordan and her husband, Michael Riordan, a former chief operating officer for the city of Albuquerque, were married for more than 20 years.

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