Cover photo for Barbara Atkin's Obituary
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1949 Barbara Atkin 2023

Barbara Atkin

December 6, 1949 — October 13, 2023




Barbara A. Atkin, a 46-year resident of Washington, DC,
died on October 13, 2023, at The Clare in Chicago, IL,
after a long struggle with breast cancer. A graduate of
Swarthmore College (BA ’71) and the University of
Virginia School of Law (JD ’75), Barbara initially worked
at the National Labor Relations Board in the Division of
Advice, where she met her future husband, John
Hornbeck. Barbara transferred to the Appellate Court
Branch, Division of Enforcement Litigation, in 1980 and
then joined the General Counsel’s Office of the National
Treasury Employees Union in 1990. Her best
professional memory is sitting at counsel table at the
Supreme Court during oral argument in US v. NTEU,
which reinforced the First Amendment rights of federal
employees. Barbara retired in 2012 as Deputy General
Counsel and immediately started volunteering at the
Supreme Court as a docent. When Barbara was
diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2021, she
and John moved permanently to their second home in
Chicago to be near their son Richard (Rick) Hornbeck
and his family. There they plunged into grandkid
activities, to their great pleasure.
Barbara is survived by her husband John, their son Rick
and his wife Anjali Adukia and children Kairav and
Ashiyana, as well as by John’s daughter Stacey
Hornbeck of Oswego, NY, and son Dennis Hornbeck of
Sandy Creek, NY. She is also survived by her sister,
Theresa (Terry) Atkin of Connecticut and NY, Terry’s
husband Dirk Kramer, and their daughter and Barbara’s
goddaughter Annie Atkin Kramer.
There will be no service. At some point the family plans
to hold a virtual and in-person gathering to remember
Barbara. In lieu of flowers, Barbara requested that
interested friends donate books to a library, school,
literacy nonprofit, or younger relatives and friends. As
E.B. White wrote, “It is not often that someone comes
along who is a true friend and a good writer.” Like
Charlotte, Barbara was both.

Arrangements entrusted to Chicagoland Cremation Options of Schiller Park, IL.

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