Albuquerque-Metro

Memorial service held for Albuquerque woman killed in Southwest flight

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - Sunday hundreds came together to remember a mother, wife and pillar of the Albuquerque community: Jennifer Riordan, the Albuquerque woman killed in the Southwest Airlines engine explosion incident.

The 43-year-old was flying from New York to Dallas Tuesday when the airplane's engine burst, sending shrapnel into the plane, killing her.

Her unexpected death shocked the community, where Jennifer was well-known as a leader and volunteer.  

Sunday night, her husband Michael spoke first, bringing humor to the somber crowd. He said the kind of memorial Jennifer would have wanted was one filled with joy and laughter. 

"Why's everybody so quiet? This is a celebration - Jennifer was ten minutes late to our wedding so I'm paying her back a little bit," Michael Riordan said. 

He asked the audience to stand if they had ever received an encouraging note from Jennifer, shared a glass of wine with her or if she ever cheered for their kids at sporting events. By the time he was finished, the entire auditorium was on their feet.

"Everyone is here tonight because Jennifer helped to fill our hearts with love and I just want you to know and leave here tonight, you filled her heart with love too," Michael Riordan said. 

Her minister told the audience that Jennifer's kindness and love for people was motivated by her deep faith.

"I think Jennifer in all her faith she followed the teachings of Christ. When He said let your life shine in such a way that people will see your good works and give praise to God," Bennett Voorhies said. 

Those making their way into the memorial called Jennifer a light and inspiration in the city of Albuquerque. 

"In life, she really brought everyone together and always had a smile on her face, always had something to say and with her passing, I think it's going to bring a ton of people together," said Ivan Wiener. 

"She had the most amazing smile, her energy, nobody could compare to her energy," said Joseph Jimenez

Jennifer's family said they were inspired by the outpouring of support from the community to set up an account in her name, where the money donated will go toward causes she fought for. 

The family said they encourage people to celebrate Jennifer by just being kind, loving and caring to others.

Lt. Governor John Sanchez presented the family with the state flag recently flown at the Roundhouse in memory of Jennifer.

(App users click here to view full video) 

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