Our Dear Maddy

The soul of a community resides not in its buildings, its landmarks or its streets— it’s within the hearts of the people who live in it. And Maddy Houk knew that more than most.

Maddy’s devotion to this town was well documented— it graced the pages of this very newspaper for decades. Her countless articles and columns— written in a hand that was capable, astute, and at its root, loving— have been a foundation of this publication. I, in all honesty, know that we will never know another Maddy Houk.

She wrote about the everyday achievements of Patterson’s citizens— young and old. If you won a spelling bee, Maddy would want to talk to you about it. If your neighbors celebrated a milestone anniversary, why, Maddy would want to hear all the details— including the flavor of cake that you ate at the party. If your church raised money for a playground, Maddy would be there for the ribbon cutting.

She knew it was these seemingly small events that truly defined a community. That these moments of joy are what made a place, a home. And she celebrated that with every article she wrote.

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know Maddy. I feel fortunate to have known her in several capacities— first as a family friend, then later, as a colleague. Her husband, Tom, was a classmate of my mother, Yvette, during the years when Patterson High School was in the gorgeous white building that looked like a retro movie set.

When I began writing for the Irrigator a dozen years ago, Maddy was an important early mentor, and an invaluable resource on all the goings-on in town. A quick phone call to Maddy could usually answer any question I had. She was better than Siri. Better than Amazon’s Alexa. And way better than that cute little lizard with the British accent in the Geico commercials that pretended like he knew everything. No, Maddy Houk was the real deal.

Her loss to our community is profound. The gifts she shared with us, for decades, can never be duplicated. But, as much as we will miss her, our sadness is nothing compared to the sorrow of those that loved her the most— her husband and her family. Let us be thankful to them for sharing their dear Maddy with us for so long. She made us all the better for it.

So, as a tribute to Maddy, let us remember what she taught us— to care enough to reach out to our friends and our neighbors... and that even the smallest deed can make a community stronger, and another person’s day brighter.

Thank you, Maddy, for everything. We will miss you.

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