UNM alum Jennifer Riordan was killed in a tragic emergency situation on a Southwest Airlines flight on April 17. The University of New Mexico held a Celebration of Life service for Riordan on Sunday.
Riordan was involved in the Albuquerque community — not only was she vice president of communications for New Mexico’s Wells Fargo branch, she served on the University’s Alumni Board, served as a board member for the New Mexico Broadcasters Association for two years and was a senior public affairs representative at UNM Hospital, according to the UNM Health Sciences Center Newsbeat.
Mayor Tim Keller’s office issued a statement after Riordan’s death was announced, that read, “Today, Albuquerque lost a thoughtful leader who has long been part of the fabric of our community. We are asking that everyone respects the privacy of the family at this time. This is a tremendous and tragic loss for Jennifer’s family and many others throughout our city. Her leadership and philanthropic efforts made this a better place every day, and she will be terribly missed. We are holding Jennifer and her family in our thoughts and prayers.”
A statement from Dr. Paul Roth, head of UNMH, said, “Jennifer was an amazing community leader, team member, wife and mother. Her passion for our community, our students and our future was unwavering. We are committed to carrying on her work to ensure quality education and career opportunities to New Mexico’s youth. Our thoughts and prayers remain with her family during this difficult time. She will be forever missed by her Lobo family.”
On Sunday, mourners entered Popejoy Hall as a string quartet played Bach and listened to Riordan’s family share stories and reminisce on her inspiring character. Riordan worked closely with many in attendance on community projects either through Wells Fargo or UNM.
Lt. Governor John Sanchez presented a flag flown in Riordan’s honor on the day of her death.
Albuquerque’s first Poet Laureate Hakim Bellamy worked closely with Riordan and wrote a poem in her memory for the service.
Riordan is survived by her husband and two children. The family has requested not to speak with the press.
Donald Amble is a freelance news reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Deambler.