Velma Marlene Madsen of Montana died Dec. 1

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Velma Marlene Madsen was born to Soren and Myrtle Rungborg, the oldest child of three at their home in Reserve, Mont., on Jan. 26, 1931. She passed away on Dec. 1, 2023, at the Bozeman Lodge in Bozeman, Mont., with loving daughters by her side.

Besides her parents, Velma was preceded in death by her dear husband of 68 years, Dan Madsen; sister, Ardell Nelson; and daughter, Debbie Madsen.

Velma is survived by her brother, Gordon Rungborg of Charlo, Mont.; daughters Diana (John) Madsen-Schofield of Lexington, Julie (Wayne) Montgomery of Yakima, Wash., Susan (Ted) Soltis of Holbrook, Ariz., Tammy Madsen of Seattle, Wash., and Lisa (Steve) Bayless of Bozeman, Mont.; sons Russell Madsen of Kalispell, Mont., and Alan (Linda) Madsen of Ronan, Mont. Velma was also greatly loved by 19 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren.

She was proud of all her children and thought them all successful. She gave them the freedom to explore the paths they took and supported their choices. She was dearly loved by each of her children and grieved the loss of her eldest daughter, Debbie, in 2021.

Velma spent her youth in Reserve, Mont., attending Reserve Elementary and then her high school years at Medicine Lake, Mont.

She was married on Sept. 1, 1951, to Dan A. Madsen in the Reserve Lutheran Church while Dan was on leave from the Army. Shortly after, they traveled to their new home at Camp Hanford in Richland, Wash., where Dan was stationed. This is where they started their family.

Velma was an excellent homemaker. She canned and froze vegetables from her garden, made bread a few times a month, and made famous dinner rolls and pies that her offspring still try to duplicate. Born of Danish immigrants, she and her husband Dan passed on Danish traditions and recipes to their children.

For part of their lives, Dan and Velma and seven of their children lived in a cozy, 600-square-foot house. With no TV, they spent evenings playing cards and board games. Velma made sure the children all played outdoors for part of most nice days, which in Montana didn’t always mean warm. Creating a pocket of peace and quiet inside that little house was really the much deserved ultimate goal. In 1967, they built a five-bedroom home next to them and the old house became a garage. Her eighth baby was soon born and Velma was finally able to skip trips to the Laundromat, as she could now do diapers and laundry at home using her new washing machine.

After her new home was built, she surprised her children by bringing a family piano home and did a fine job playing it. Many hours were spent with Dan sitting in an easy chair listening to her play and sing while one of her children would be sitting at her side, singing along.

Velma’s kindness was apparent by anyone who knew her. She was good to her children and their spouses, their children and their spouses, and all the many grandkids that came to visit her. She welcomed the many friends her children brought home, from grade school through the present.

A visitor was always welcomed in while Velma brewed a pot of coffee, though she never liked it herself. She’d put together a plate of her homemade cookies and treats, and sandwiches made on her homemade bread. As can be imagined, she had lots of visitors.

Velma was also an excellent seamstress. She made many clothes for her children, and mended many more. Until recently, she was still making quilts to give away to her various grandchildren. She loved being a member of the Ronan Sew and So club, and had many friends there.

While living in Saint Joseph’s assisted living in Polson, Mont., she hosted pinochle and bridge parties in her apartment. She was a keen player of all games, and folks were always happy that got her as their card partner.

The greatest gift she gave to all who knew her was the wonderful and loving relationship she had with her husband of 68 years, Dan A. Madsen. With a kind wit, they would poke fun at each other, always eliciting a smile from those around them. They never spoke a harsh word to each other and were the best of friends until Dan passed away in 2019. Velma always mentioned how she missed her partner. The thought of their happy reunion makes parting with Velma tolerable.

A memorial is being planned for July 28, 2024, at Flathead Lake Forevers at Big Arm, Mont.



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