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Kathy Hornbaker

PRINCETON — Kathy Ann Hornbaker, 62, of rural Princeton passed away Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, at Cabin Livin' in rural Hennepin surrounded by her loved ones.

She was an award winning pie baker at age 24. She touched the lives of hundreds of children as a grade school teacher and youth group leader. She was a loving and devoted wife and mother. And her smiling, friendly, freckled face told you she led a life of joy and happiness, which she freely shared with everyone she met.

Kathy was born on March 13, 1952, in Jacksonville to Earl and Eileen Niestradt. She married Rich Hornbaker in 1973.

She graduated from Bushnell Prairie City High School in 1970 and from Illinois State University in 1975. She taught at Leepertown Grade School and Tiskilwa Grade School prior to starting a family.

Kathy and Rich established Hornbaker Gardens in 1987. That same year, Kathy began homeschooling their three children, and did so for six years.

She was active in Hampshire Colony Church, and then Open Prairie United Church of Christ, where she was a youth group leader for many years. Kathy was also a member of the Princeton chapter of P.E.O.

Surviving are her parents, Earl and Eileen Niestradt of Bushnell; her husband, Rich of Princeton; three children, Sara (Mike) Tracey of Normal, Molly (Russ) Blogg of Princeton and David (Laura Marek) Hornbaker of Princeton; two grandchildren, Caleb and Addison Tracey; four siblings, Jim (Gayle) Niestradt of Cincinnati, Ohio, Bob (Kathy) Niestradt of Shelbyville, Dan Niestradt of Lake Oswego, Ore., and Janet (Andy) Schoneman of Western Springs; and numerous nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by a daughter, Rebecca, who was stillborn in 1980.

Cremation rites will be accorded. Visitation will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at Hornbaker Gardens. A memorial service will be held the following day, Saturday, Aug. 23, at 4 p.m., also at Hornbaker Gardens.

The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be directed to Open Prairie Church in Princeton to be used for youth activities and education, or to Princeton Public Library for the children’s library.

The Ptak Funeral Home assisted the family with the arrangements. Online condolences and remembrances may be shared at PtakFH.com.

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