Ann Mari Beatrice Ellen Wendla Lagergren (April 26, 1928 – February 23, 2021) was the only child of Count Carl Lagergren and Ellen Grumme of Tyresö, Sweden, a rural suburb of Stockholm.  At the tender age of 3, Ann Mari lost her father and inherited his title.  She spent a few years in Tyresö “Palace,” a Baroque manor that had been enlarged and modernized by her grandmother at the turn of the twentieth century. Caroline Russell was a wealthy New York heiress who met Ann Mari’s grandfather Marquis Claes Lagergren in Rome where he was papal chamberlain to a series of Popes beginning with Leo XIII. A scholar, writer, and dedicated papist, Claes spent much of his time in Rome leaving the development and management of his three sons, the castle, the land, and the community of people who lived and worked there to his wife, Caroline.  It is easy to see the direct connection with her forebearer in Ann Mari’s love of family, the land, farming, and her gardens.

Coached in dressage by an uncle who was an Olympian, Ann Mari began riding at an early age and competed as an amateur in Europe. After the war, she went to America where she briefly attended Briarcliff College then went to New York City and studied interior design.  Back in Sweden, she met Oscar Lindgren a restauranteur and theatrical producer whose family owned and operated the amusement park Gröna Lund Tivoli, still a colorful feature of the Stockholm harbor.  They married in 1952 and had three children just as the initial socialist wave swept into Sweden.  Many entrepreneurs left the country then and Oscar was among them, taking his young family first to Rome in 1960, then to Beverly Hills in 1961, and finally, at Ann Mari’s urging, to a  farm in rural Washington, Virginia.  

 Ann Mari wanted to farm and raise her children in the country. She was also an active volunteer and trustee at Highland School where the kids were enrolled. An avid fox hunter, she brought her European flair as a rider and hostess to Rappahannock County. Ann Mari and Oscar divorced in 1966, and she moved to Warrenton so the kids could be closer to school.  While there, she worked as Event Hostess at the Freedom Studies Center near Culpeper and was also a popular tennis teacher in the community.  

It wasn’t long before this sophisticated lady caught the eye of George Horkan, a well-respected attorney who owned Cleremont Farm in Upperville. In a whirlwind, they courted, introduced her three kids to his four kids, and 6 weeks later in December, 1969, they were married at the farm. Mamie Eisenhower attended because George was a childhood friend of Dwight’s son John and godfather to his son David who also attended the wedding with wife Julie (Nixon) Eisenhower and a couple of Secret Service Agents. 

Ann Mari and George maintained a busy social life which included the occasional dinner at the White House. A 1973 Washington Post article noted that Pat Nixon had arranged for “a friend of the family…to plan a combined vegetable and flower plot” for Julie and David.  “Sources say Mrs. George A. Horkan Jr. will be to Julie Eisenhower what Bunny Mellon was for Jackie Kennedy.” They enjoyed working hard and traveling together when they weren’t dealing with seven teenagers in the tumultuous 70’s. 

At Cleremont, Ann Mari was deeply involved in managing the farm’s prize-winning Black Angus cattle operation. She also focused her energies on growing award-winning roses and lilies in a garden that was often featured on the Garden Tour, in magazine articles, and in books. A longtime member of Fauquier/Loudoun Garden Club, Ann Mari served one term as President. While serving on the board of the Garden Club of Virginia, she was recruited to join the Garden Club of America (GCA) where she became Horticulture Chair.  Next she was named Zone VII Chair of the GCA and, in 1998, she was co-Chair of the annual meeting in Williamsburg. That led to a term as National Chair of the Founder’s Fund and, finally, to the GCA Vice Presidency. There were many awards and accolades for her leadership and her gardening skills including this special commendation: The Zone VII Creative Leadership Award cited “For leading with such dedication, intelligence, infectious enthusiasm, and unselfish generosity of spirit that she enriches the lives of all who work with her.”

There were many memorable parties on the beautiful grounds of Cleremont’s Federal style house but the main event was Ann Mari’s annual Garden Party. Equally comfortable in khakis as evening gowns, she was known for her beauty and skills as a hostess. Ann Mari would tour guests around her rose garden where the colorful, fragrant hybrid teas would tower beside them.  

George passed away too soon in 2001. In her 70s, Ann Mari would most often be found with her labrador Pella, meticulously weeding her beds, harvesting vegetables, berries, and flowers, and expertly trimming and tending her roses. A few times a year, she traveled the world as she and George had planned to do together.

In 2017, Ann Mari moved to Westminster Canterbury in Winchester where she captured the hearts of all who knew her and was lovingly cared for in peace and comfort until she passed away on the morning of February 23 at nearly 93.  

Ann Mari was predeceased by her husband George Anthony Horkan Jr. and grandson William Robinson.  She is survived by her children Ann-Caroline Lindgren Boram, Ann-Charlotte Lindgren Robinson, Carl Lindgren and step-children Kathryn Horkan Willis, Elizabeth Horkan, Annie Horkan, and George Anthony Horkan III along with her grandchildren Alison Campbell, Emily Moody, Joshua Ryan, James Ryan, Erica Lindgren-Hoff, George Anthony Horkan IV, Brittany Horkan, Nicholas Robinson and great grandchildren Indigo Ryan, Bodi Ryan and, very recently George Anthony Horkan V. 

In lieu of flowers, please send donations in memory of Ann Mari Horkan to The Garden Club of America, Founder’s Fund – https://www.gcamerica.org/contribute#tSecondCentury.

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