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Remembering Wayne Estopinal: Long-time coworker reflects on who he was

Wayne Estopinal was killed in a small plane crash on his way to Chicago on Friday.
Wayne Estopinal was killed in a small plane crash on his way to Chicago on Friday.(Ball State University)
Updated: Dec. 1, 2018 at 12:39 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Architect, philanthropist, and founder of Louisville City FC, Wayne Estopinal, 63, was killed Friday morning in a small plane crash in southern Indiana.

So many kind words are being used to describe who he was.

Passionate, intense, generous, and thoughtful are just a few that a long-time co-worker chose to describe Estopinal.

Janet Lively worked for Estopinal for 10 years at TEG Architects, which Estopinal owned. Working closely with him from 2005 to 2016, Lively says she was there when he decided to create LouCity FC.

“That was something that he -- you can’t use a double negative, but -- never not going to let happen,” Lively said.

So many kind words are being used to describe who he was. Passionate, intense, generous, and thoughtful are just a few that a long-time co-worker chose.

Going back to the days when Lively says LouCity FC was just a dream of something happening on River Road, she is sad he won’t be around to witness the team grow.

“I hope that people don’t forget that he did bring something amazing to Louisville,” Lively said.

She said Estopinal became a soccer enthusiast when his son began playing, later owning the Mockingbird Valley Soccer Club and becoming a minority owner of Orlando City SC.

“You never wanted to try to outwork him because it was exhausting to try,” Lively said.

Estopinal worked hard with everything he was involved with, becoming a prominent and innovative architect for healthcare facilities and beyond. He also did what he could to inspire and mentor people, like Lively, along the way. But it doesn’t stop there. Estopinal also took time to get involved in his community.

Estopinal was an active member of the Board of Directors for the Louisville Sports Commission, Louisville Zoo Foundation, and Lincoln Heritage Boy Scouts of America.

“Sometimes people join a board just to be figureheads, but Wayne was not that guy,” Lively said. “When he was on the board, he was 100% on the board.”

He also never forgot his roots, always giving back to his hometown of Jeffersonville. Estopinal graduated from Jeffersonville High School and studied at Ball State University, where he was a trustee.

Estopinal is responsible for creating the retractable mound that allows baseball and soccer to share a field. He also designed Big Four Station Park and the men’s soccer field at UofL.

“It’s just innumerable the amount of things he’s touched,” Lively said.

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