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Ex-Ark reporter Claire Horn had passion for writing, travel and community

Claire Horn, a former Ark reporter who covered education for a decade over separate stints starting in the 1990s and 2010s, died Jan. 11 in Atlanta. She was 70.

 

Horn wrote about school budgets, academic achievements, top teachers and principal resignations as a freelancer, first from 1995 to 2004 and then in 2011-2012.

 

“She was so passionate about writing,” said friend Azi Najafi, a former Belvedere resident who now lives in Lisbon, Portugal. Najafi was The Ark’s former advertising director during Horn’s first stretch and copy editor during the second. “She was passionate about everything she did.”

 

Sister Kathrine Coggins, of the Atlanta suburb of Roswell, said she remembers Horn always loving writing and acting while growing up. She called Horn “incredibly well spoken and well read,” adding that her sister always kept a journal and scrapbooks “full of lots of commentary.”

 

As a mother of two, Horn’s interest in education extended to her service to kids, the schools and the community. Those who knew her said she was service-driven and wanted to help others.

 

Son Ian Bodaken said he remembers his mom fostering middle-school girls in her home for a year. She was also an avid fund­raiser for the Reed Union School District’s Parent Teacher Association, he said, and once co-chaired the Foundation for Reed Schools’ annual spring fundraiser, the Reed Regatta, with Najafi.

 

“She just didn’t hesitate,” Najafi said. “She wanted to give back to the schools, and she had a tremendous amount of love and care for the community.”

 

Horn was born May 10, 1953, in Charlotte, North Carolina, the second of four children to Carl Horn Jr., a lawyer who later served as president and CEO of gas and electric company Duke Energy, and Frances Emmet Horn, a homemaker.

 

After graduating from the all-girls Salem Academy boarding school in 1971, Horn spent her freshman year at Emory University in Atlanta and then more than two years at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, where she was majoring in drama, Coggins said.

 

But the West Coast was calling her, and Horn left in 1975 for Southern California, where she worked as a certified optician in Los Angeles. It wasn’t until 1994 that she finished college, graduating from the California State University at Long Beach with a language and composition degree.

 

She married Bruce Bodaken in 1984, and the two eventually settled in Los Alamitos in Orange County. Their sons, Conor and Ian, were born in 1987 and 1990, respectively.

 

In the 1980s, Horn attended the Los Angeles Police Department’s academy with hopes of becoming a police officer, but she was rejected after completing training because “she was a tiny little lady and couldn’t be a cop in LA,” Ian said.

 

A career change for her husband brought Horn to Tiburon in 1994, according to a 1998 article in The Ark. The family lived on Turtle Rock Court until she and her husband divorced in 2001.

 

In addition to writing for The Ark, she also wrote unpublished adventure novels and historical fiction inspired by her travels. Bodaken said he remembers his mom going on various national and global sailing adventures, from voyages on the Chesapeake Bay and Nantucket to sails in Ireland and Gibraltar to voyages in Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Israel. One sailing trip was on such rough waters during what Bodaken called an “incredible storm” that sailors in the town Horn arrived in “were just astonished that she had just sailed through this big storm.”

 

He also remembered the trips they enjoyed together, including river rafting across California and the western U.S., nature walks through the Amazon, volcano climbs of Ecuador’s Cotopaxi volcano and explorations of historical sites across Europe.

 

Horn loved nature, those who knew her said, with Bodaken and Najafi remembering her love for Ring Mountain; they said Horn would head there every single day with her dogs and friends. Coggins said Horn also had a fond appreciation for Sedona, Arizona, where she had a house, and loved the red rocks “and all the mysticism around Arizona.”

 

“She just had an incredible intellectual curiosity about any new place or people or culture,” Coggins said. “And she would always do her research whenever she was going to go anywhere … so that she would know what to look for, what to take advantage of, that kind of thing.”

 

Bodaken said his mother wanted him to appreciate history, prose and nature and, overall, “being impacted by life, being touched by life.”

 

“She just liked to experience life in general,” Bodaken said. “She just had a real vigor and enthusiasm for her life.”

 

Horn moved from Tiburon to McCall, Idaho, in 2016. She married Peter Caprio that same year and stayed there until 2022, when she relocated to Atlanta to receive care from her family.

 

In addition to her siblings, Coggins and brothers Carl III and Thomas, and two sons, Horn is survived by her two grandchildren, Chloe and Cooper, and ex-husband Bruce Bodaken. She was preceded in death by her parents and husband Peter Caprio, who died in 2022.

 

The family is planning a March 2 memorial service at Congregational Community Church in Tiburon.

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