Kendra McNabb was an amazing young woman known for her vibrant spirit, strong will, determination, and zest for life. She was kind-hearted, free-spirited and filled with a fiery passion for life and love of animals. She pursued and was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst on May 8, 2020 before her untimely death on June 26, 2020.
Kendra was passionate for life. She loved spending time with friends and considered them family. Her smile was infectious and could brighten the darkest room. Kendra was filled with boundless energy. In grade school and high school, Kendra participated in tae kwon do, lacrosse, gymnastics, and diving. In her college years she tried skydiving and couldn't get enough of it! The feeling she got when free-falling was incredible. She joined the UMass skydiving team and led them to their collegiate competition in Arizona, winning a bronze medal in 4-way. She worked packing parachutes to allow her to earn her skydiving license and completed over 150 jumps.
As young as 4 years old, Kendra decided she wanted to care for animals and become a veterinarian. She never lost that passion. Kendra was known by family and friends as the dog-, cat-, horse-, goat-, and even pigeon- and dragonfly-whisperer because of her unbelievable connection and ability to seemingly “talk” to animals of any kind. A dragonfly she carried home stayed with her for hours. She talked a pigeon into her hands for an afternoon. She could have the most feral of cats purring in her arms and could tame and ride the most unruly horses. Kendra was the only person a mare would allow in the stall after having a new foal. As a young child, she thought there was no better way to spend an afternoon than observing surgeries at the local MSPCA.
There was nothing and no one that Kendra would not do her very best to save. Kendra worked part-time as a personal care assistant for several elderly women, tending to their needs to help comfort them. Kendra nursed her dog, Sabrina, through two bouts of cancer, cleaning incisions, administering meds, and holding her close up to the very moment of her death. She cared for all the horses at the local barn, rescues or otherwise, cleaning post-operative drains, recognizing and saving a horse from colic, gently and patiently retraining rescues. Kendra worked as a veterinary technician and was noted to be especially patient and kind to senior citizens and their senior pets, indulging them and lending a listening ear.
Kendra believed that if she loved someone enough, human or animal, she could save them. When life taught her differently, as life will, she fiercely moved on to save the next. She never gave up. Kendra talked many times of the financial stress of school, and the burden of student debt that would follow most animal science students into their future. Knowing animal sciences is often a career of love and not one with lucrative rewards, she would want more than anything to help others in need.
Through the Kendra Elizabeth McNabb Memorial Scholarship Fund, Kendra will continue to be a life force, reaching out to help others pursue their own dreams of helping animals.