Howard R. Madsen

By on January 13, 2011

Howard R. Madsen, 87, of Elburn, passed away Jan. 9, 2011, following a long battle with cancer.

He was born Feb. 5, 1923, in Plano, Ill., the son of Albert and Laura Madsen.

Howard grew up in Plano and attended local schools. He graduated from Plano High School in 1941.

Shortly after graduation, Howard enlisted in the U.S. Army and served his country as a sergeant during WWII. Upon his return to civilian life in 1946, Howard began attending Northern Illinois University, and later, Loyola University in Chicago on the G.I. Bill.

Howard met the woman he would marry amidst the cheers of a Plano High School football game. From then on, no one cheered louder for Howard than Barbara Hughes. They were united in marriage two years later on July 25, 1953.

They began their new life together in Plano for a time before moving to Elburn, where over 55 years of memories began.

Howard worked for over 30 years for Sears and retired as a manager in 1985. It didn’t last long, however, and Howard found himself working again, only this time for Ace Hardware, where he became the friendly face you looked forward to seeing until his “second” retirement in 2005.

Howard was a member of Loyal Order of the Moose in St. Charles and was a former member of the American Legion in Plano.

Howard was an outdoorsman at heart and loved to be surrounded by nature. He passed this love onto his children, sharing with them his passion for golf, gardening, camping, hiking, fishing and bird watching among others. The family took vacations to Wisconsin in the summer and canoe trips to the Boundary Waters in Canada.

When he returned indoors, Howard always had a few books close by so he could indulge in his love for reading and studying history. Although Howard was a Chicago sports fan, it didn’t take long for anyone to realize he lived and died with every win and loss of his beloved Chicago Cubs.

In later years, Howard and Barbara loved to travel. They not only covered the “lower 48” but travelled internationally as well, visiting Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales, sometimes more than once. Howard was a wonderfully loving and dedicated husband, father and grandfather. No one loved his wife Barbara like he could, and over the years he cheered the loudest while faithfully attending his children and grandchildren’s sporting events. Howard leaves a legacy of memories far and wide and will always be remembered.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara; four children, Laura (Andy) Nagelbach of Naperville, Lana Madsen of Westmont, Ill., Craig (Kate) Madsen of Chicago, and Bryan (Marla) Madsen of Elmhurst, Ill.; six grandchildren, Dan, Chris, Victoria, Ethan, Isabella and Abigail; one brother, LeRoy Madsen of Sheridan, Ill.; two sisters, Carol Ardelean of Plano and Delores Richards of California; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and a family of friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents; six siblings, Esther Brown, Alice Graham, Maxine Johnson, Iner Madsen, Leon “Luke” Madsen and Russell Madsen.

Visitation will be from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13, at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St., Elburn, IL 60119. A funeral to celebrate his life will follow visitation at 7 p.m. Rev. Michelle Prentice-Leslie, pastor of the Elburn Community Congregational Church, will officiate. Private family interment will follow cremation at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established in his name to benefit Nature Conservancy and American Cancer Society. Checks may be made to the “Howard Madsen Memorial” and mailed in care of P.O. Box 66, Elburn, 60119. Tributes may also be forwarded to the same address or at