Obituary: Sarah Maeck, 1948‑2020 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Sarah Maeck, 1948‑2020

Burlington-born woman was a lifelong horse lover and therapeutic riding teacher

Published January 13, 2021 at 6:00 a.m.
Updated January 13, 2021 at 11:53 a.m.

  • Courtesy Photo
  • Sarah Maeck

After a long period of declining health, Sarah Maeck died on December 2, 2020, at Wellington Place in Decorah, Iowa, where she had been a resident for several years.

Sarah was born on August 23, 1948, in Burlington, Vt., to John Van Sicklen Maeck and Doris Wehrle Maeck. She attended Burlington schools until the age of 15 when the family moved to a farm near Lake Champlain on the Shelburne-Charlotte line. Sarah entered Champlain Valley Union High School as a member of its inaugural sophomore class, graduating in 1966.

After briefly attending Colby Junior College in New Hampshire, Sarah returned to Vermont and married Albert “Skip” Williams, with whom she had two children, Christopher and Michele. Sarah devoted the ensuing years to providing a home for her family. After her divorce, Sarah continued to reside and work in the Burlington area to give love and support to her children and grandchildren.

In middle age, Sarah refocused on her education and earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Trinity College in Burlington. As an outgrowth of that training, Sarah also became a certified riding therapy teacher in the state of Massachusetts.

Horses and equestrian life were a singular preoccupation and skill that Sarah practiced throughout her entire life. She was encouraged in this activity by her parents while growing up on the family farm, the South Forty, in Shelburne. Sarah had a natural and intuitive relationship with horses and was both a pleasure and competitive rider. She continued to seat horses until the summer before her passing as a member of a therapy riding group in northeast Iowa.

Sarah leaves her son Christopher Williams, her daughter Michele Williams Hudson and their families, including many beloved grandchildren. She also leaves her brother Steven and his wife, Karleen, of Burr Oak, Iowa. She was predeceased by her parents, Doris and John.

People who knew and remember Sarah and recall her lifelong love of horses are encouraged to make a gift in her name to the therapy-riding nonprofit Thunder Rode, located at 1957 Meadowlark Rd., Decorah, IA 52101.

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