Mary Ellen Rudisel Jordan

July 23, 2013


Mary Ellen Rudisel Jordan

Architect Mary Ellen Rudisel Jordan

I lost a good friend last week.  Mary Ellen was in a fatal car crash Thursday evening heading home from a client meeting in Wabash.    She was an Architect that I worked with for the past two decades on projects too numerous to count.  Some of them large, some of them small, some of them award winning, some of them mundane.  She often referred clients to me with no expectations other than that I would treat them well.  I often returned that favor, referring clients to her.  I never hesitated to do so, knowing that she would do all in her power to meet their needs and respect their wishes.  She had no ego and was excellent at listening.  Her ability to do thumbnail sketches on the fly with clients would often lead to the client being able to realize their vision in a way they couldn’t without her help.  When I had roughed out a design for a client, I sometimes would send it to Mary Ellen and she would make some minor change that would make things “pop”.  She did this just as a favor as with the proposed fireman’s memorial here.  Her input was always appreciated.

Sketch by Mary Ellen of the proposed Woodcraft Camp Museum

Sketch by Mary Ellen of the proposed Woodcraft Camp Museum

I worked with Mary Ellen on numerous Church projects.  Churches can often be difficult clients.  This is not a fault of the Church, but the Church building committees are generally made up of a large group, diverse in age, background and experience.  It’s a testament to Mary Ellen’s communications skills that she was able to navigate groups like these with ease.  It is generally impossible for everyone in a group such as that to get what they want, but Mary Ellen made sure they were all heard, their ideas were respected, and that somehow an aspect of everyone’s input was incorporated into the final project.  She did all this without compromising a good design.  Bringing that kind of consensus is a talent that I can only wish to emulate.

Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Over the past few days, many things have come up that have made me think fondly of Mary Ellen.  I’m sure that will continue over time.  She was  always quick with a bad pun.  I still have a Far Side book that she gave us years ago.  Every Christmas I think of her Cartridge in a Bare Tree and look forward to the barrage of Calvin and Hobbs Killer Snowman comics she would share.  Every summer I share her quote about the heat.

Mary Ellen was a good person, a great friend and respected colleague.  Today is her Birthday and it was on my calendar to tease her about being older.  I am going to miss her.

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