- Anna Herod American-Statesman Staff
Friends and family are still reeling over the death of Texas State University student Jordin Taylor last weekend, but are doing their best to honor her memory and the life she lived.
The 20-year-old freshman’s body was discovered under a shuttle bus early Saturday in a parking lot where a Halloween party was held the night before. Pi Kappa Alpha, the fraternity that hosted the party, has voluntarily suspended operations until more information regarding Taylor’s death becomes available. Officials say Taylor’s death appears to have been an accident but is still under investigation.
Taylor was a member of Texas State sorority Alpha Delta Pi, which will hold a public balloon release ceremony at Hill Country Event Center in San Marcos at 6 p.m. Thursday to pay tribute to her. Afterward, the organization will have a private memorial service, according to one of the sorority’s members.
Reagan O’Brien, a close friend of Taylor’s, said that, despite all of the news coverage on the events that led to Taylor’s death, she hopes everyone remembers her friend not for how she died, but for the life she led and the lives she touched.
“Her laugh was just insane and so contagious,” O’Brien said. “She was the funniest person I knew, by far. No matter what she went through or what was going on, she was always happy and smiling.”
O’Brien and Taylor became friends during high school in their hometown of Burleson. Even after they graduated and went off to college, O’Brien and Taylor remained close friends, spoke often and celebrated their birthdays, which fell on the same day, together every year.
Taylor’s mother passed away in 2012 after suffering an undetected brain aneurysm, and O’Brien recalled how strong her friend remained even in the wake of tragedy, always doing her best to comfort her family even as she grieved herself.
Taylor “was wise beyond her years,” O’Brien said. “Even two weeks ago, when she came over to my house, she told me that she felt her mom tell her she was going to be OK, and that she was always watching over her. And she just felt relief pour over her shoulders because she knew her mom was there.”
Texas State student Kaci Floyd met Taylor during sixth-grade cheer tryouts at Kerr Middle School in Burleson. This year the pair became sorority sisters.
“Even on her darkest days she would light up a room,” Floyd said. “She made friends with everyone she crossed paths with and made everyone feel special and loved. Jordin has opened my eyes to become more forgiving and loving of this world instead of being afraid of it.”
Floyd said that Taylor constantly reminded her friends to make the most of the present and to not worry about the what-ifs in life.
“She helped me not to worry about things, (and) she always greeted me with a huge smile,” Floyd said. “She had such a vibrant energy that glowed all the time. She was a ray of sunshine.”
Taylor was always the center of attention because of the positive energy and laughter she took with her everywhere she went, O’Brien said.
“I hope that she’s always talked about and remembered; she would love that — she loved being in the limelight,” O’Brien said. “Her motto, I feel like, was to do what you want to do. She was such a firm believer that whatever was going to happen, was going to happen, so just do what you want to do to make yourself happy.”
Floyd said she knew Taylor to be the embodiment of happiness: “Everyone will remember her as one of a kind, someone that was meant to do more and someone who helped and impacted so many different lives in an amount of time that was less than the rest of us. … She was special.”