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Harry V. Madsen

Harry V. Madsen passed on Sunday, August 26, 2018, at the age of 93 in his home in Saluda. He leaves behind his children, John Madsen and Karen Whitman (Paul) and Paul Madsen (Stacey), and his four grandchildren, Kelli Whitman, Kai Madsen, Sophia Madsen and Charlotte Madsen. Harry was preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Joan (nee Farnell).

Harry was born in Culver City, Cal., on December 26, 1924, the son of Johannes and Hilda Madsen, both of whom immigrated to the U.S. from Denmark. Harry spent his early years in Denmark and Connecticut, then moved to Florida and graduated from South Broward High School in 1942. During WWII, he worked at a radio assembly factory in New Jersey. In 1943, Harry enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he held the rank of Ensign, First Class, and was designated Honor Man of Company 166 upon completion of his training. Harry’s mechanical aptitude was quickly recognized and he became an aircraft mechanic while being cross-trained as a torpedo bomber gunner. He then seized an opportunity to enter training to become a Naval Aviator, and earned his Airman wings on November 29, 1946. Harry flew a variety of Naval aircraft, serving in the Pacific transporting supplies and injured soldiers, and in Europe, serving in the Berlin Airlift. Harry was awarded the Air Medal in 1949. In 1951, Harry completed his transition from Active Duty to the Naval Reserve as an officer, LTJG, and joined Eastern Airlines as a copilot flying the Douglas DC3. Harry met his wife, Joan, during a pilot/flight attendant training session and they were married in Boston in July 1961. Harry and Joan relocated to Springfield then Vienna, where they raised their three children and developed numerous lifelong friendships. Harry had a distinguished 34 year career with Eastern Airlines flying almost every aircraft in their inventory and retiring in 1984 as a Lockheed L1011 Captain based in New York. He served numerous roles with Eastern such as Training Check Airman, Union Rep, and Chief Pilot at National Airport in Washington, D.C.

In 1987, Harry and Joan moved to Saluda, from where they enjoyed traveling and socializing with their many friends. Harry spent his time improving his golf game as a Founding Member of the Piankatank River Golf Club, tinkering with mechanical things in his workshop, serving as Chairman of the Middlesex County Republican Committee, and enjoying visits from his children and grandchildren. In his later years, his favorite activities included socializing at his favorite restaurant, Eckhard’s, and enjoying a glass of wine on his deck during “Happy Hour” with family and friends most Friday evenings.

A memorial service was held Monday, September 3, 2018 in Faulkner Funeral Homes, Bristow-Faulkner Chapel, Saluda. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Middlesex County Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 98, Deltaville, VA 23043. 

posted 09.06.2018

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