Kenneth Leroy Madsen
March 29, 1934—Oct. 24, 2019
Kenneth Leroy Madsen was born in La Junta, CO, to Fred and Pauline on March 29, 1934, and grew up as a farm boy. Life changed a bit when the family moved “out West” and settled in Longview, WA. The country boy had moved to the city. Ken attended Kessler Elementary and was a 1952 R.A. Long graduate where he was editor of the Lumberjack Log and sang in the Glee choir, that is when he wasn’t cruising Commerce in his 1950 Plymouth dressed to the nines and rocking a ducktail. Always industrious, he started working while in grade school and worked a variety of jobs from that time forward. In addition to horse logging and mill work, Ken spent time in grocery jobs, and as a sales rep for Cowlitz Candy all before the age of 30. He worked several years for the Cowlitz County Building Department inspecting countless homes and eventually becoming a supervisor. In his 40’s he decided to launch out on his own and started Madsen Construction as he turned his love for building into his profession. He built several homes and completed many small construction projects.
Ken was first and foremost a family man and in addition to his daughters, Becky Madsen and Jennifer Dobbins from previous marriages, he had two children, Brenda and Cory, with the love of his life, Donna (Bates) who worked and adventured by his side for 55 years. Even though Ken and Donna started their marriage as “city kids,” they dreamed of living the country life, so they turned 20 acres in Castle Rock into a family farm raising the children, a big garden and a variety of livestock. Feeding the cows, mending the fences and chopping wood were never-ending tasks, but Ken loved being outside and was no stranger to hard work.
His faith was an important part of his life, and he was a member, Elder and former pastor of the Cowlitz Valley Community of Christ, where he was much loved and held in high esteem by the members who enjoyed his humorous sermons and religious poetry. He blessed the babies, baptized the children and performed the weddings and memorials of church members and friends alike.
Ken was a man of many talents; his smooth baritone made him a popular choice as a soloist at weddings and funeral services. While snow-birding in Arizona, he took up writing and was featured in the “Country Boy moves to the City” series for TDN. He self-published his stories and poems and gladly shared them with anyone who asked, and many did. Ken and Donna enjoyed many years square dancing with Ruff and Ruffles, which involved not just dancing, but eating, camping and socializing with the many friends they made there.
Ken was preceded in death by his mother and father, sisters Jean and Millie, grandson Jeremy Pedersen and niece Lori Finkas. He is survived by his loving wife, Donna; children, Becky Madsen, Jennifer Dobbins, Brenda (Mike) Sargent and Cory (Cindy) Madsen; sister Suzie (Frank) Pedersen; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He will be missed by grandchildren Kenny Dailey, Shyra Dobbins and Kendra Pruett, Christine, Carly and Colton Madsen, and Brody and Savannah Sargent, and great-grandchildren Treven, Bryson, Ayla, Chance, Trapper, Gauge, Colt and Harper.
His memorial service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m. at Steele Funeral Home. Donations in his memory can be sent to Community Home Health & Hospice who provided so much help and comfort in his last days.