Woman killed on Southwest Airlines plane identified as mom of 2 from New Mexico

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Retired nurse who helped Southwest victim: Katherine Scott reports during Action News Mornings on April 18, 2018.

Family, friends and community leaders are mourning the death of a bank executive on a Southwest Airlines jet that blew an engine as she was flying home from a business trip to New York.

Jennifer Riordan, a mother of two, was well known in New Mexico, where she had built a career over more than two decades in community relations and communications after graduating from the University of New Mexico.

Gov. Susana Martinez called Riordan "an incredible woman who put her family and community first" and said her loss would be felt across the state.

"The hearts of all New Mexicans are with the Riordan family," Martinez, a Republican, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Before starting with Wells Fargo in 2008, Riordan had worked for the University of New Mexico hospital system in public relations and for Citi Corp.

At Wells Fargo, she was the vice president for community relations and was in charge of managing employee volunteer and board service to nonprofit groups in New Mexico and parts of Texas. She also served on numerous boards and oversaw the annual United Way community campaign.

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, a Democrat, 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."

News of Riordan's death was first shared by the assistant principal of the Albuquerque Catholic school attended by her two children.

In an email to parents, assistant principal Amy McCarty wrote that "the family needs all the prayers we can offer."

State Attorney General Hector Balderas called Riordan a dear friend.

"I was honored to work with her on financial literacy issues for over a decade," said Balderas, a Democrat. "Jennifer was exceptionally active and passionate in working to improve our community, and I express our sincerest condolences to her husband and children."

Members of the broadcast community shared their condolences on social media, remembering the volunteer efforts and community outreach spurred by Riordan through her many roles in the community.

In a tweet, the New Mexico Broadcasters Association expressed its heartbreak over Riordan's death, noting that she was a former board member and scholarship winner.

Riordan also served on the boards of Junior Achievement of New Mexico, New Mexico First and The Catholic Foundation.

Riordan and her husband, Michael Riordan, a former chief operating officer for Albuquerque, had been married for more than 20 years.

The Riordan family released the following statement:
Jennifer Riordan has passed away as a result of previously reported events on Southwest Airlines flight #1380. 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. 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. We are so appreciative of the outpouring of support from family, friends and our community. We do ask that those who seek to express their condolences and prayers as well as media outlets respect our privacy at this time. Our family and friends need this time to both grieve and celebrate Jennifer's impact on us all. In her memory--please remember to always be kind, loving, caring, and sharing.

Her former employer, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center released a statement that read in part:
"Jennifer had previously been a member of The University of New Mexico's Health Sciences Center family, working in marketing. Her service continued as part of the UNM family, serving on the Alumni Association Board. 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."

The pilot of the plane, a twin-engine Boeing 737 bound from New York to Dallas with 149 people aboard, took it into a rapid descent and made an emergency landing in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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