Margaret M. (Hickey) Patnaude, 80, of North Andover, Massachusetts, passed away Saturday, April 20, at her home surrounded by her loving family and friends, after a long, courageous battle with Parkinson's disease.
She was the daughter of the late Leo and Margaret Hickey. Margaret graduated from Johnson High School in North Andover in 1950. She was the first co-ed to be accepted into Merrimack College, graduating with a teaching degree in 1954. After graduating college, she taught briefly in Merrimack, Massachusetts, while working at the Andover Riding Academy teaching horseback riding. This is where she met her husband, Neil Patnaude. Their love for each other and horses made it a marriage that lasted 58 years.
Among Margaret's many accomplishments in life, Margaret and Neil bought what would be Red Oak Farm in North Andover in 1957. This was the beginning of a lengthy career boarding, training and showing horses all over New England and also at Madison Square Garden. Margaret made a lasting impression on her students and fellow trainers. She had a major impact on so many people in New England, and many of her riders went on to be professionals or longtime exhibitors. In 1989, the UPHA named her Horse Person of the Year for a career that lasted from 1950 until Parkinson's forced her retirement just a few years ago.
Margaret always said, "A hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in or the kind of car I drove, but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child."
Margaret also loved music and was an accomplished organist. She loved spending time with her family and friends, especially her cats.
Margaret is survived by her husband, Neil C. Patnaude of North Andover; and their three children, David and Susan Patnaude and their four sons, Neil, Brad, Todd and Marc of North Andover; Ellen Patnaude and Valerie Benson of Dracut, Massachusetts, and Patti Patnaude and Shirley Anderson of Methuen, Massachusetts. She is also survived by her sisters, Maryclare and John Milan of Amherst, New Hampshire, and Ann and John Murphy of Hingham, as well as nieces, nephews, her caregivers, Jessica Garcia, Lucia Rondo and JoAnn Prior. She will also be missed by her extended barn family and all who loved her.
Donations can be made in memory of Margaret Patnaude to Saddlebred Rescue, 6 Meadow Cliff Lane, Hardwick, New Jersey 97825.