Arnold Gene Madson, 85, passed away Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, surrounded by loved ones. He was born Jan. 17, 1934, in Fort Dodge, to Arnold Gotfred Madson and Helen Elvira Nordin, younger brother to Blanche Rogers. Known as Gene, and sometimes Genial Gene, he had a habit of handing out Tootsie Rolls to both friends and strangers.
Gene was baptized and confirmed at First Covenant Church in Fort Dodge on April 27, 1934, and Feb. 29, 1948, respectively. In 1952, he graduated high school from Pillsbury Military Academy in Owatonna, Minn. He joined the military right out of high school and served in the U.S. Air Force from 1952 to 1956, during the Korean War. Gene was stationed at Ladd Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska, and always fondly remembered his time there.
Soon after that, he graduated from Dunwoody Technical School in Minneapolis with a two-year degree in welding. Gene was working at an auto body shop in Fort Dodge when he met his wife, Ruth Maxine nee Severson, who was then a registered nurse at Lutheran Hospital in Fort Dodge. They married in Ames on June 10, 1961, and bought a house in Fort Dodge. Daughters, Linda Kay and Laura, soon joined the family.
Gene worked for Klein Manufacturing from 1967 to 1978. From 1980 until his retirement in 1996, he worked in central supply and receiving at Fort Dodge Community School District.
Gene and Ruth lived in Fort Dodge for 53 years before moving to Cedar Rapids in 2014 to be closer to daughter, Linda. There, he lived in an apartment at The Meth-Wick Community.
Gene was a member of the Golden Kiwanis and a 50-year member of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Dodge, where he served as an elder, deacon and trustee.
He was an avid hunter all his life and spent many happy hours hunting in Alaska and in the Brushy Creek Valley in Webster County. Gene also enjoyed woodworking and could fix almost anything.
Gene is survived by his daughters, Linda Kay and Laura; sons-in-law, Mark and Keith; and grandchildren, Molly, Ben, Ian and Erik.
He was preceded in death by his parents and wife.
His family is grateful his final days were quiet and comfortable thanks to Hospice of Mercy and the staff of the Stuart Neighborhood at the Woodlands.
A graveside burial service will be held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 7, at Cambridge Cemetery in Story County, Iowa, officiated by the Rev. Sara C.R. Hill. Arrangements are with Stewart Baxter Funeral & Memorial Services, Cedar Rapids.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the organ fund at First Presbyterian Church, 1111 Fifth Ave. N. in Fort Dodge, or The Meth-Wick Community landscape restoration fund.
Please share your support and memories with Gene's family on his tribute wall at www.stewartbaxter.com under obituaries.