Rankin Family Remembers Jordan on First Anniversary of Haverhill Teen’s Death: ‘Very Much Loved’

Jordan Rankin's sister Julia snapped this photo on Aug. 14, 2018 during a family vacation to Old Orchard Beach, Maine. (Photo courtesy of the Rankin family)

Seventeen-year-old Jordan Rankin was a Haverhill High School senior who loved taking vacations to Old Orchard Beach, Maine, playing lacrosse and field hockey and keeping up a group text with her sister Julia and brother Johnny, and on Wednesday, Sept. 25—the first anniversary of her death—it’s those memories and so many more that keep her family going.

During a conversation with WHAV punctuated with many more laughs than tears, Jordan’s mom Cindy, dad John, and her siblings remembered the teen and reflected on her legacy while thanking the Haverhill community for their support one year after the tragic accident that took her life.

Close family friend and neighbor Stanley Firek, whose daughter Christina is a Haverhill High senior and Jordan’s best friend, summed up Jordan’s legacy with three simple words: “Very much loved.”

Indeed, even John and Cindy Rankin told WHAV they were surprised to find out just how much of an impact their daughter made on those around her. “She wasn’t a leader and she wasn’t really a follower. Jordan did her own thing and encouraged other people that’s it’s okay to do their own thing and not worry about what other people think. It’s nice to see that she had a little bit of that figured out,” John Rankin said during the Sept. 21 interview at their home.

Celebrating Jordan at a memorial Mass at Sacred Hearts Church Sept. 22, Cindy Rankin said the family has drawn strength from Father John Delaney, among others. Haverhill Police Sgt. Kevin F. Lynch and Haverhill District Court’s Staci Keenan and Thomas Sholds have also been helpful. As WHAV previously reported, Haverhill High’s cheerleaders raised $200 for a scholarship fund started in Rankin’s memory when dedicating Saturday’s football game to the teen.

Seeing Haverhill—and surrounding communities, especially those with athletic teams in the Merrimack Valley Conference—“go out of their way” to support the Rankins, has been humbling, John said.

“I don’t think there’s anywhere we go where someone doesn’t come up to us and ask how we’re doing,” John Rankin said. “I think it’s important not only for us, but it’s good for them to see that we’re out and about living our lives and going on and remembering Jordan instead of not doing anything.”

Methuen’s Owen Foote stands accused of motor vehicle homicide in connection with Rankin’s death. Haverhill Police say Foote, then 19, was driving 70 MPH at the intersection of Liberty and Crystal Streets when he allegedly blew through a stop sign. Foote was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the Sept. 24, 2018 accident, police said. A search of his vehicle found marijuana and related paraphernalia, but Foote “did not exhibit any indicators or symptoms that he was under the influence,” according to Sgt. Lynch. He has remained out on bail since the accident.

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