There are people who work on the front lines of animal welfare who are simply born with a profound and spirited love of animals, a love that defies description. That was Marilyn Goodreau, MSSPA Director Emeritus. It is with tremendous sadness that the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals shares the news that Marilyn passed away at her home on Sunday evening, July 9th.
Video courtesy of News Center Maine, WCSH 6.
Marilyn was born in Portland and grew up in the North Deering section of the city. In 1968, Marilyn brought her skill, passion, and love of animals to volunteer at the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals; so began her lifelong dedication to the Society. It was clearly a match made in heaven, as was her partnership with Lawrence Keddy, another Society volunteer who shared her passion for injured and abused animals, horses in particular. Together, they devoted their lives to shepherding the MSSPA, establishing the farm that is now home to horses needing a safe haven. Under their guidance, the Society has grown to become the largest horse rescue facility in New England, accepting seized and surrendered equines and providing all of the rehabilitative services to those animals at no cost to the state of Maine. Upon the death of Mr. Keddy in 2000, Marilyn served as president of the nonprofit organization.
Along the way, in addition to rescuing and rehabilitating hundreds of horses, she revitalized the board of directors, reinvigorated a program that allowed incarcerated individuals to work at the shelter, and tirelessly raised awareness of the plight of abused animals all across Maine. She received numerous prestigious honors for her advocacy of animals, including (in 2016) the Governor’s Award for Service and Volunteerism. All the while, she was a daily presence at River Road Farm, greeting, caring for, and encouraging each animal. As the organization grew and became a presence on the national stage of equine welfare, Marilyn continued to serve on the board of directors, eventually ascending to the role of Director Emeritus.
Marilyn’s devotion to the animals, her mentoring and support of the management team over the decades, and above all, her fierce determination to shelter and rehabilitate animals at the MSSPA have created an unparalleled, living legacy for a little girl who was born loving horses. The ongoing work of the Society serves as a tribute to the life of Marilyn Goodreau.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Marilyn’s name to the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals.