North Andover — Margaret M. (Hickey) Patnaude, 80, of North Andover passed away Saturday 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.
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, Jessica Garcia, Lucia Rondo and JoAnn Prior. She will also be missed by her extended barn family and all who loved her.
ARRANGEMENTS: A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Tuesday at noon at St. Michael Church in North Andover. Burial will follow in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in North Andover. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the M.S.P.C.A. in Methuen. To leave on-line condolences, please visit www.contefuneralhomes.com.