The 43-year-old New Mexico woman who died after being partially sucked out of a crippled Southwest airliner was remembered as the “bedrock” of her family and a “loved and respected” banking executive.
Jennifer Riordan, who was a VP at Wells Fargo, was on her way back from a business trip to the Big Apple, where she had tweeted a picture from her room at the DoubleTree by Hilton Metropolitan.
“Great business stay,” she added in a caption late Monday.
During the first 20 minutes of her flight the next morning, an engine on the Boeing 737-700 blew, setting off an explosive decompression that pulled her partway through the breached fuselage.
Despite heroic efforts by passengers and flight attendants to save her life, Riordan died of her injuries.
In a statement, her family members described her as “the bedrock” of their clan.
“Jennifer’s vibrancy, passion and love infused our community and reached across our country. Her impact on everything and everyone she touched can never be fully measured,” read the statement about the mother of two.
“But foremost, she is the bedrock of our family. She and Mike wrote a love story unlike any other. Her beauty and love is evident through her children. … in her memory — please remember to always be kind, loving, caring, and sharing.”
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez called Riordan “an incredible woman who put her family and community first.”
“The hearts of all New Mexicans are with the Riordan family,” the Republican governor said in a statement.
Riordan, who graduated from the University of New Mexico with a degree in communications in 1999, worked at UNM Hospital as the media relations manager from 2002 to 2005.
“Jennifer was an amazing community leader, team member, wife and mother. Her passion for our community, our students and our future was unwavering,” Dr. Paul Roth, chancellor for the UNM Health Sciences Center, said in a statement, the Albuquerque Journal reported.
Riordan was VP of community and public relations for New Mexico Citigroup from 2005 to 2008, when she moved to Wells Fargo.
At Wells, she was vice president for community relations and was in charge of managing employee volunteer and board service to nonprofit groups.
Bank spokesman Mike English said Riordan “was a well-known leader who was loved and respected,” adding that Wells Fargo would not provide further comment out of respect for the family.
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In 2015, she was presented with the Bill Daniels Award for Ethical Young Leadership.
“As a parent, I’ve said to my kids, ‘Be kind, loving, caring and sharing, and all good things will come to you,’” Riordan said in a Journal report about the award.
“Integrity embodies the spirit of those four things, as well as high morals. It’s about knowing the difference between right and wrong, and choosing to do what’s right, even when it’s very difficult to do what’s right.”
Riordan’s husband of more than 20 years, Michael, was once the chief operating officer for the city of Albuquerque, where the family lived, according to KOAT.
Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller said his thoughts and prayers were with Riordan’s family.
“Today, Albuquerque lost a thoughtful leader who has long been part of the fabric of our community,” Keller said in a statement.
Keller said Riordan’s leadership and philanthropic efforts “made this a better place every day and she will be terribly missed.”
Tamar Lapin and Post wires contributed reporting.
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