Community mourns loss of wife, mother killed on Southwest Airlines flight


It hasn’t even been 24 hours since Albuquerque wife and mother Jennifer Riordan died in a bizarre Southwest Airlines plane accident. 

Investigators said the plane’s engine blew mid-flight and shrapnel hit and busted the window next to Riordan. 

Passengers were able to pull her back in the plane, but she didn’t make it. Now, back home, people who were close to Riordan are coming together to honor her life. 

“She was larger than life,” said Senobia Szuch. 

She and many other volleyball moms snipped ribbons, and placed brightly colored bows on a table as they came together to honor one of their own. 

“Salt of the earth. The kind of person you want to be around and get to know,” said Szuch. 

Szuch and the other volleyball moms know Riordan because their daughters play together on the Albuquerque Rebels Volleyball Club. 

“It’s a very, very difficult time right now,” said Summer Exum. 

As the women folded ribbons, they reminisced about Riordan’s chants at the girls’ games. They said she was the team’s biggest cheerleader. 

“She brought the team together,” said Szuch. 

The moms say they’ll always be there for Jennifer’s daughter. 

“My goal is to go to every single one of that kid’s games as long as she plays volleyball, and if she decides to play another sport, I will be there,” she said. 

The mothers wrote Riordan’s initials on the bows in her honor. 

“She brightened up the room so we wanted to give the girls bows for our volleyball tournament that we’re having this weekend,” said Szuch.  

Other members of the community that Riordan worked closely with through the United Way are also remembering her for her incredible work ethic. 

“We’re still trying to understand you know, how that could happen to somebody like Jennifer. I mean she was such a loving person, such a caring person, and such a great mom, she loved her husband,” said Randy Woodcock, the Vice President of Central New Mexico United Way. 

He said Jennifer Riordan brought a light to all their meetings and events. 

“She was an inspiring leader, and she just brought energy and passion and humor to everything she did,” said Ed Rivera, the President and CEO of the United Way. 

The Albuquerque Rebels Volleyball Club will be setting up a station inside their office for people to bring by cards, letters and gifts for the family. 

A statement from the Riordan family:

We appreciate the outpouring of support for our family and the love for Jennifer. Hearing stories of how she impacted everyone in so many meaningful ways has truly touched our hearts. 

To honor her legacy, an official memorial site has been created to fund causes that were near and dear to her heart.

The family will be holding a Celebration of Jennifer Riordan’s life Sunday, April 22, at Popejoy Hall. The event will begin at 6 p.m., doors will open at 5:30 p.m. 

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