Alice Hobart (Johnson) Horne, school librarian, world traveler

Alice Horne
Alice Horne

Alice Hobart (Johnson) Horne of Tucson, Arizona, passed away on January 13, 2014.Born in Richmond, Virginia, on December 10, 1923, Alice grew up in Clinton, Iowa, and graduated from Ferry Hall School (now Lake Forest Academy) in Lake Forest, Illinois.  She received a BA degree in English and French from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority, and an MA in Library Science from the University of Southern Connecticut.

For many years, Alice was the librarian for the middle school (junior high) in Ridgefield, where she lived from 1957 to 1980.

Alice Horne was a vibrant and inquisitive woman whose boundless curiosity opened doors around the world. Brimming with questions, her conversations with strangers — adults and children — launched friendships that endured for decades.

Alice was a supporter of strong public education and freedom of expression. During the 1960’s and early 70’s, she became involved in defending the right of students to have access to “controversial” books which were nearly banned from their schools in Ridgefield. She advocated for the free flow of ideas and helped maintain reasonable selection criteria for books in school libraries.

She was a 70-year member of PEO, a pioneering women’s educational organization, and was active in chapters in Iowa, Connecticut and Arizona.

Her inquisitiveness threaded through her life in her love of poetry, theater, music and dance. She enjoyed exposing her children to Shakespeare, the ballet, opera, and the stage. Few summers in Connecticut passed without an evening at Westport’s or Candlewood Lake’s summer stock theater. Alice was not just an observer; she was an excellent dancer, easily doing the jitterbug with the handle of the refrigerator if no other partner was nearby.

Her adventurous spirit made her a wonderful traveler. Along with her husband, William Horne, Alice visited every state, more than 80 countries, and every continent but Antarctica. Her travels included such remote places as Lhasa, Tibet, Easter Island, Botswana, and jungle villages in New Guinea. She was always eager to take yet another trip. She encouraged her children to travel, to take on risky ventures, and to try unusual opportunities.

In 1980, she moved from Ridgefield to Tucson, Arizona, and became involved in numerous civic and arts organizations; for six years she was an active member of the University of Arizona Theater Advisory Board, on which she continued to participate until her death. She attended her last show,  a performance of The Fantasticks, in October 2013.  She also served as a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), a program for abused and neglected children, for a number of years and was a strong role model for the children she nurtured.

Charming, determined, brave, and bold in her appetite for life, Alice was a role model for how to grow old with dignity and elegance. She steadfastly refused to “act her age” in any limiting capacity; she was planning her next trip even while seriously ill.  For the past nine months, she battled Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and during her ambulance ride to the hospital, she engaged the driver in a friendly conversation, replete with details of her long and remarkable life.

Alice is survived by her husband of 33 years, William McHenry Horne, Jr.; her former husband, Robert L. Johnson of Ridgefield;  her children Hal Johnson of Sarasota, FL; Christina Johnson Kent of Houston, TX; Karen Johnson of Washington, DC; step-children Lynellen Long of London, England; Terry Horne of Indianapolis, Indiana; grandchil dren Brett Johnson, Alex Johnson, Olivia Kent, Bryerly Long, Cordelia Long, Cullane Horne and Connor Horne, and niece Margaret Hobart of Seattle, WA. She was preceded in death by her brother, Harry Hobart, and nephew David Hobart.

A Celebration of Life will be held at the Omni Tucson National on March 1, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

Contributions may be made to the University of Arizona Theater Arts Board or to the PEO Educational Loan Fund, 3700 Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA  50312.