Mom was born at the end of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic and died during the current Covid-19 pandemic; but despite the ominous beginning and end, she lived a very long, full life. Her lifelong goal was to live a century and, of course, being Mom, she lived an extra year and 9 days for good measure.
Mom was born on February 3, 1920 to Henry G. and Esther A. (Siefers) Buit in Lafayette, Indiana. She was the third of five children, 1 boy and 4 girls, each of them 2 years apart in age. Her older brother was killed by a streetcar when he was 7 years old and her mother died of cancer when Mom was 13 years old. The 4 girls were then raised by their dad and a live-in housekeeper.
She often shared fond memories of her childhood where she spent time with her family at St. Elizabeth’s Apple Orchard in Lafayette playing and helping with the work when needed. She loved that her grandfather would walk to their house every morning to eat breakfast with the girls. She enjoyed going to their cottage on Lake Freeman in the summers where they would fish and swim and, in their teen years, attend dances and concerts at Indiana Beach. She attended St. Francis High School where she played half-court women’s basketball and developed many lifelong friendships.
After graduation, she began work at ALCOA where she met her future husband, Willard R Hornbeck, shortly after his return from World War II. They were married on April 19, 1947 and shared 67 years together before Dad died in 2014. After marriage, Mom stayed home working unselfishly as the matriarch of the family raising 6 very appreciative children: Gary W. (Dorina), Marana, AZ; Lucinda S. (Lary) Stieglitz, Medford, OR; Randall J., Seattle, WA; Daniel B. (LuAnn), Chesapeake, VA; Timothy P. (Lisa), West Lafayette, IN; and Thomas R., Medford, OR.
Mom and Dad were inseparable after his retirement from ALCOA and spent many memorable times together going on trips with the ALCOA Retiree Club, playing euchre with friends, and spending winter vacations in Hawaii. She loved cheering for her favorite teams, the Chicago Cubs and the Indianapolis Colts.
Mom moved to Oregon at the age of 97 and loved to go for drives to see the “beautiful countryside”. She even took a jetboat trip down the Rogue River shortly after her move. Her family called her the “Energizer Bunny” because she never gave up, surviving a number of critical hospitalizations in Oregon. Amazingly, she never had a gray hair on her head until she was about 99 years old. She celebrated her “100th” birthday in California with almost all of her children, 13 grandchildren, and 20 great-grandchildren. She loved seeing her family and watching everyone play on the beach. Her eyes always lit up at the sight of any children playing around her.
Mom was preceded in death by her “Mama” and “Papa”; her brother, Henry; her sisters, Martha, Catherine and Dorothy; her husband, Bill; and her son, Daniel. We all love you so much, Mom. Thanks for your example to us. We are all blessed to have had you in our lives. We miss you so very much.
Mary Ruth will have a viewing on Saturday March 20, 2021 from 10:00 AM until the Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00 AM in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fr. Dennis Faker officiating. She will then be buried at St. Boniface Cemetery next to her beloved husband. The rosary will be recited at 9:45 AM before the viewing. Hahn-Groeber Funeral Home of Lafayette is honored to serve the Hornbeck family. Please leave memories and condolences at www.hahngroeberfuneralhome.com
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