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Obituary – Margaret Patnaude

Margaret M. (Hickey) Patnaude, 80, of North Andover, Mass. passed away on 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, Mass., 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. 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. She touched hundreds of lives, including many, who as adults are prominent in the Saddlebred, Hackney and Morgan worlds. Some of the riders who got their start under the tutelage of Patnaude include; Sally Lindabury, Kathy Gutting, Kay Cortelyou, the late Todd Mathieson and his brother Glen, Judy Howard-Cox, Cheryl Innis, Jannie Giles, Robin McKenzie Vuillermet, Cindy Watson and Darlene DeBlois.

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, Mass., and Patti Patnaude and Shirley Anderson of Methuen, Mass. She is also survived by her sisters, Maryclare and John Milan of Amherst, N.H., and Ann and John Murphy of Hingham, as well as nieces, nephews, her caregivers, her extended barn family and all who loved her. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the M.S.P.C.A. in Methuen, Mass.

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