Family and Friends Gather to Remember and Mourn Mother Killed on Southwest Airlines Flight

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, 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.”

CBS affiliate KRQE-TV writes that a video tribute, music performance and a poetry reading were part of Riordan’s service.

“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,” Ivan Wiener told the station.

Sunday night, her husband Michael spoke first by bringing humor to the somber crowd, according to KRQE-TV. 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 10 minutes late to our wedding so I’m paying her back a little bit,” Michael said.

KRQE-TV reports that Michael asked the audience to stand if they had every received an encouraging note from Jennifer, shared a glass of wine with her or if she ever cheered for their kids at sporting events. The entire auditorium was reportedly 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,” he said.

“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,” Jennifer’s minister Bennett Voorhies said.

The 43-year-old 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.

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SOURCE: CBS News, The Associated Press