John Madsen, 98

John Kline Madsen, 98,  of Placid Lake, MT, raised in Dassel, MN, passed away peacefully April 2, 2023.

He was born May 31, 1924, in Minneapolis, MN.

Soon after his birth, his family began to experience the Great Depression and moved to his grandfather’s farm in Dassel, where John spent most of his childhood.

John often recounted the harsh realities of being a child during the Great Depression, such as using handed-down clothing or the joy he felt when he received a handful of used stamps or an orange as a Christmas gift.

John’s intelligence, hard work, and drive led to his admission into the University of Minnesota, where he enrolled in the dentistry program.

At the university, he met Martha Gold, who he later married in 1947 in Redwood Falls, MN. John and Martha shared 60 years together, including having four children: Robert “Bob” Madsen, Nancy Madsen, Eric Madsen, and Melissa Madsen.

John and Martha traveled the world, hunted, and fished together, living life to the fullest. After John retired, they spent six winters on the shores of Lake Chapala in central Mexico, and later began wintering in Sun Lakes, AZ.

Martha passed away in 2007, but their abounding love and friendship continues to inspire his family as an example of what a supportive, loving marriage should be.

Upon completing his doctor in dental surgery degree in 1947, John joined the Air Force to serve his country in the Korean War. As a captain, John was stationed in Anchorage, AK.

Upon the completion of his military service, John moved with his family to Helena, MT, where he started his dental practice. 

John took his responsibilities to his small community earnestly. Martha, his business manager, would be exasperated when John would trade dental services for chicken, beef, or whatever a patient could afford.

John was active in Helena’s civic and professional community, serving on numerous boards such as the Florence Crittenton Home, the Shodair Children’s Hospital, and the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness Nature Preserve.

Additionally, John was appointed by Montana’s governor, at the time, to serve on the state board of dentistry, and in 1984, he was awarded the TT Rider Award for outstanding service to the profession and the community.

Finally, John dedicated 14 years to the Boy Scouts of America. He had a passion for scouting, and often took troops on camping trips and outdoor adventures.

In 1973, John and Martha purchased a home on Placid Lake, MT, which soon became the family’s gathering spot, and where John enjoyed swimming, water skiing, sailing, fishing, hunting, and evenings by the campfire.

John was a notorious jokester. He would frequently entice his grandkids into nighttime missions to toilet paper a friend’s boat before a sailboat race or serenade various cabins with a rag-tag collection of bugles, kazoos, drums, and the like. John was always a kid at heart and was beloved by his family and many friends.

John was preceded in death by his wife, Martha Madsen (2007); and daughter, Nancy Madsen (Bob Stuart) (2022).

John is survived by his son, Bob Madsen of Seattle, WA, Eric Madsen (Caren) of Silver Spring, MD, and Melissa Madsen of Missoula, MT. Additionally, John leaves eight grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

John’s memorial service will take place at 10 a.m. Monday, April 17 at The Springs at Missoula, and all are welcome. John’s ashes will be interred later in a private gathering at the Seeley Lake Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, he asked that donations be made to the Blackfoot Community Conservation Area at https://blackfootchallenge.org/ways-to-give/.

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