Harlingen-based architect dies in crash

HARLINGEN — The posts began pouring onto social media Wednesday afternoon, soon after news of a fatal accident spread.

Meg Jorn, a well-known Harlingen-based architect, died Wednesday morning in a crash on Expressway 83.

At approximately 9:41 a.m., Harlingen police responded to the westbound lanes of Expressway 83 at Altas Palmas Road for an accident involving an 18-wheel truck and a passenger vehicle.

As officers were responding to the initial crash, a call of a second crash was reported at westbound Expressway 83 and Stuart Place Road involving an 18-wheel truck and an SUV.

Officers arrived on scene, and confirmed the driver of the SUV was deceased.

Online, Jorn’s friends were lamenting the loss of someone they described as an extraordinary woman who had a passion for life and the well-being of her community.

A post on the Rio Grande Grill’s Facebook page stated they were greatly saddened by the loss of their friend, mentor and neighbor.

“Throughout her journey she loved and lived with an intense passion, tirelessly pushing toward the greater good of our community’s health, beauty and overall well-being,” the Rio Grande Grill management said.

“We’ve lost a pillar in our community today but we are committed to carry on her mission in Harlingen.”

Jo Rae Wagner, owner of The Reese and Colletti’s Italian Restaurant, received the news by phone that Jorn had died. Wagner was at her restaurant preparing for the lunch hour.

“Meg Jorn was an extraordinary lady both in her field of architecture and in her life,” Wagner said. “She was a wonderful person.”

Wagner said Jorn and her architecture firm are totally responsible for the redesign of The Reese building downtown, making it what it is today.

Wagner noted Jorn was involved in many development projects around the Rio GrandeValley.

“The entire construction community will miss her for many, many years,” Wagner said.

She said Jorn was always in a good mood.

 “She will be sorely missed by so many people. I will miss her,” Wagner said.

 “I feel so sad for her husband and her family. She was a true role model to all young girls.”

The board of directors and staff of Downtown Harlingen sent condolences to the Jorn family.

“Meg loved Harlingen and everything about Harlingen and she was loved by many,” the board said in a statement.

“She supported the health and wellness of its citizens as well as the beauty of Harlingen, its architecture of its past and of its future.

“Her smile and energy lightened up anywhere she went.”

The news was shocking to Ed Meza, Harlingen Downtown director.

“She was just full of life,” Meza said. “She was such a wonderful soul and beautiful person.”

Meza recalled Jorn’s smile and healthy lifestyle. He noted she was on the Mayor’s Wellness Committee and enjoyed jogging and swimming. She also was a member of the Harlingen Planning and Zoning Advisory Board.

Jorn was president of Megamorphosis Inc., an award-winning full service architectural and interior design firm based in Harlingen, according to her Linkedin page.

Her firm has been involved in some of the most high-profile projects in the region, including the renovation of The Reese Hotel in downtown Harlingen, the Harlingen school district’s new Performing Arts Center, Harlingen’s new west side fire station and the Saint Anthony Parish Community Center.

Currently, the firm is involved in the San BenitoCulturalArtsCenter project.

On her Facebook page, she described herself as an avid runner for more than 20 years, running in every distance race from 5Ks to more than 20 marathons, including the Boston Marathon, which she participated in several times.

Jorn was married and had three children. She grew up in Harwich, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod, where she was a member of the HarwichHigh School track team.

She would go on to graduate from the University of Texas at Austin.

In April 2007, Jorn told a Valley Morning Star reporter that the Boston Marathon coincides with her grandmother’s birthday, and the opportunity to run gives her an excuse to visit home.

“It’s part of the reason I choose to do the marathon,” Jorn said at the time.

She also was involved with other competitions.

“I try to do one marathon a year,” Jorn said. “They’re kind of rough on your body; it takes a toll on your body.”

At the time, her best marathon time, which was done at the 1989 Boston Marathon, was three hours and nine minutes.

“It’s interesting to see yourself work just as hard to get not as far,” she said of running alongside hundreds of people.

Some time in 2007, at the Austin Marathon, Jorn finished second out of 200 women in her age group. For Jorn, it was a huge surprise, as the new course was more difficult with plenty of hills.

Jorn’s Facebook page has this quote: “Life is precious…..let us try not to waste it!”