Emily J. Hornaday, of Lawrenceville, NJ, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 11th, at Spring Hills Post Acute Care in Hamilton, NJ, after a six-month illness. She was 65.
Known to most family members and friends as Em, she had a kind and gentle spirit and was full of love for people, animals, and the environment. She was outgoing and friendly and quick-witted. This allowed her to easily strike up conversations and make meaningful personal connections with a variety of people. Animals could also sense that they had a friend in Em. On a visit years ago to the Howell Living History Farm in Hopewell, NJ, a small black sheep suddenly jumped into Emily's arms from behind a fence. Emily held onto the sheep lovingly until one of the workers placed it back with its brethren. (The worker said that that particular sheep had bonded with humans when it was a lamb.) Emily had lupus for many years, which eventually led to her retirement. She retained her sense of humor and positive attitude even in the face of increasing physical challenges. She walked with two canes, and the canes sometimes scared children. She always took the time to talk with the children and explain that the canes were just assistive devices so the children would no longer be afraid. To give the children something to relate to, she referred to her canes as her light sabers which helped her channel The Force, like Luke Skywalker from the "Star Wars" films.
Born Sept. 5, 1956 in Redding, CA, she graduated cum laude from California State University, Chico, with a bachelor's degree in journalism, minor in psychology. After graduation, Emily worked as a journalist for newspapers in Grass Valley and Oroville, CA. She then moved to Lawrenceville, NJ, in 1988 and continued her journalism career at The Times of Trenton, NJ, where she covered the police and court beats. While working at The Times, she was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for a story on Medicare fraud. After leaving The Times, she worked as a spokesperson for the New Jersey State Attorney General's office and NJ's Division of Criminal Justice. Emily had what close friends called a "zoom lens" because she was easily able to zoom in and make sense of complex problems and see details as well as the big picture. This helped her excel at her job. She loved puns and other wordplay and enjoyed teasing friends and family in a good-natured way. One friend remembers that Emily had her convinced that all mailboxes in California had to be painted orange -- Emily's favorite color. The friend later had a good laugh once Emily revealed that it was a joke. Emily's many hobbies included reading, especially mysteries. She was an expert, for example, on trivia about the fictional Australian detective, Phryne Fisher. Other hobbies included art appreciation, watching the Philadelphia Eagles play, and keeping up-to-date on politics. She also loved TV Westerns and tracking the weather. One friend said Emily was "her favorite meteorologist." Emily was a lifelong learner with an abundance of intellectual curiosity, even during her recent illness. What made her happiest, though, was helping other people and animals. She did this with patience and generosity of time and spirit.
Daughter of the late Richard Hoyt and Margaret Ann (Gardner) Hornaday, and mama or aunt to late cat companions Pekoe, Lindy, Tom, Pinto, Samantha, Monty, Luke, and Snowflake, she is survived by her stepmother, Jenifer Hornaday of Chico, CA, and other close and devoted family members and dear friends. Emily will be lovingly remembered by all who knew her. To Em: Young Stella is safe, thanks to you. Mission accomplished.
A celebration of life and scattering of ashes ceremony will be private and at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a nature conservation group or animal sanctuary of the donor's choice.
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