JEFFERSONVILLE — A Jeffersonville architect's lasting legacy can be seen in the landmarks he created for the city, and now, the iconic park he designed celebrates him as one of the Jeffersonville's champions.
Wayne Estopinal, who died at age 63 in a November plane crash, has been added to the Jeffersonville Home of Champions wall at Big Four Station Park, located on the south side of the park. The Jeffersonville Parks Department dedicated the addition at a Saturday ceremony, where family, friends and community members gathered to remember his life and legacy.
Wayne Estopinal, a Jeffersonville architect killed in a November plane crash, has been added to the Home of Champions wall at Big Four Station. pic.twitter.com/WpAvYFhttt— Brooke McAfee (@Brooke_E_McAfee) August 31, 2019
Estopinal founded the architectural and interior design firm The Estopinal Group — now TEG Architects — 30 years ago, which designed well-known Jeffersonville developments such as the award-winning Big Four Station and the restoration of City Hall at Quartermaster Depot. He was also the founder of the Louisville City FC.
On Nov. 30, 2018, Estopinal and the two other passengers onboard a Cessna jet died in a crash in Clark County, including pilot Andrew Davis of Sellersburg and Sandra Holland Johnson, who was vice president of business development for TEG Architects.
Estopinal's daughter, Ashley Estopinal described her father's visionary spirit, saying Big Four Station Park is his "testament to that love and vision for how the city could grow," she said.
"He had a way of seeing the world differently than most people — it allowed him to see the beauty and wonder that so many of us miss," she said. "It was as if when he closed his eyes, he could see the world not just for what it is, but for what it could be. He had a vision that stretched all across the world, but he always returned here."
She said her father wanted Jeffersonville to have more places like Big Four Station where people could gather together and celebrate the community, and the project was a way of welcoming all pedestrians from the bridge into his beloved hometown.
"However big, however small, he let us be part of it all, and he shared his dream for this city with us," Ashley said. "He brought us along to that world that he closed his eyes to see. It was a long and crazy journey, but those of us along for the ride are now in the driver's seat. So close your eyes, and see your community as the stronger and more loving community you have always dreamed it could be — the community the Wayne wanted all of us to have. A million dreams is all it's going to take."
Estopinal's wife, Thresa Estopinal, who was among the family members who attended the dedication ceremony, said she is so proud of what he accomplished and envisioned throughout his life. She co-founded the TEG Architects with him 30 years ago, and she serves as a managing partner at the firm.
"He loved the city, and he wanted to give back," she said. "So me and both of the kids are going to try and do the same. We're going to try to continue his legacy every way we possibly can."
Paul Northam, director of the Jeffersonville Parks Department, said it was a "no-brainer" to add Estopinal to the Home of Champions wall. This fall, the city is also planning to place another plaque in Big Four Station to recognize his role in envisioning the park.
"When we went through everything Wayne's done for this city and for the world, we felt like he was a natural for the wall," he said.
Mayor Mike Moore said Estopinal has not only touched many lives in Jeffersonville, but he has also changed the city's landscape.
"So many of the projects that I've been able to be a part of in the last eight years, Wayne's thumbprint is all over just about everything, from Fisherman's Wharf, City Hall, Big Four Station, the Jeffersonville Police Department — Wayne has designed and has been a huge part of just about everything that has come together," he said. "Working in the city of Jeffersonville is liking putting the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together. Wayne's the one who created the pieces."