IN MEMORIAM: Mary Horn

Mary Louise Reed Horn

May 19, 1918–February 2, 2015OTHER NEWS IN MEMORIAM   Mary Horn picture                                                       post Feb 24

She leaves her son Paul, daughter-in-law Susan (Caron) of West Roxbury, her son Philip and daughter-in-law Anne Horn and their two sons, Andrew and Evan, of New Cumberland,
Penn., many beloved nephews and nieces (Judson, John, Jim, Laura Jo, Paul, Mark, and
Lee Webber and Deborah Moseley) and many friends, young and old,  from her former
homes in Oceanside (1986–2002) and Los Angeles (1957–1986), California.

Born in Augusta, Georgia and raised there and in Florida as the oldest of five children, Mary was the first of her family to attend college, graduating from the University of Miami and later earning her MSW at Tulane University and joining the National Association of Social Workers. During jWorld War II she worked for the Red Cross, helping soldiers and their families, later moving to New York City for a position with Baby’s Hospital. It was in New York where that she met and married her late husband Sid, and they started a family, living first in Queens and later in Yorktown Heights, north of New York City.

It was in New York in 1951 that Mary displayed a special strength and courage as she underwent experimental brain surgery for a brain tumor (which also finally explained the recurrent and until then mystifying migraine headaches she had suffered from since her early teen years). The surgery saved her life, but unavoidably resulted in the loss of hearing in one ear and certain facial paralysis that would later prompt some children, afraid to approach her, to ask about “the woman with the crooked face.” She learned to put them — and often adults, too — at ease.

Soon after moving to Los Angeles in 1957, Mary began working for the Children’s Bureau of Los Angeles, a United Way agency where she specialized in helping children and families, especially with adoptions and foster care. Her pioneering work in foster care and adoption won her special recognition, including a “California Social Worker of the Year” award in 1979.

Mary held memberships and was active in seemingly countless professional, political and charitable organizations, including, just to name three, UNICEF, the National Association of Social Workers, and later in life the Oceanside Chapter of Kiwanis which in 2000 presented her an award for her service to children. When her sons were in elementary school and Halloween rolled around, Mary would make sure that they and their friends had special containers to collect money for UNICEF, not just Trick or Treat candy.

Mary loved playing Scrabble, feeding hummingbirds, watching Willy Mays, visiting lighthouses, and tending her garden — especially her irises and pansies — but most of all she loved being with children.

A life-long Democrat, Mary was always involved in one national or local political campaign or another. She wrote notes and letters tirelessly, and usually in longhand (she never learned to type let alone use a computer!), to political leaders and government officials — particularly on issues of human rights, education and child welfare. Framed personal letters in response to hers — from politicians and leaders such as Adlai Stevenson, Eleanor Roosevelt and Saturday Review Editor Norman Cousins — were proudly displayed in her home.

Always active in the Methodist church, Mary and her husband Sid started a group for young college students at the Sepulveda Methodist Church near her home in the San Fernando Valley, one of many leadership roles she assumed with the church. The weeknight potluck dinners and discussions she hosted for these young people made for many fond memories, particularly since Mary had few peers in the kitchen (even cooking liver for which she would emphatically proclaim her dislike).

 After retiring in 1986, Mary moved south to the coastal community of Oceanside — for the cooler climate and to be closer to one of her brothers (the late Henry Reed) and his family and many other friends who had already moved to that area. There she quickly became involved with the San Luis Rey Methodist Church and, as a lay leader, helped its congregation expand into a new facility. Children and teenagers remained a great focus for her not only at the church but also as volunteer reader in local schools and day care centers.

In 2006, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, Mary moved to the Boston area to be closer to her two sons. The family deeply appreciates the wonderful care and support she received from staff at “Edelweiss,” the assisted living residence, and “The Pavilion” for the care of dementia residents at The German Home in West Roxbury.

In lieu of flowers, the family would greatly appreciate donations in Mary’s memory to any of the following:

The German Home
2220 Centre St.
West Roxbury, MA 02132

San Luis Rey Valley United Methodist Church
5570 Old Ranch Road
Oceanside, CA 92057

The Alzheimer’s Association of San Diego
6632 Convoy Court
San Diego, CA 92111 

UNICEF: www.unicefusa.org/donate/end-preventable-child-deaths/20281.

Or to any child welfare organization of your choosing.

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