Richard Madson

Richard Madson

Richard MadsonRichard Allen Madson age 70 of Wolsey, SD formerly of Westbrook, Jamestown, ND and Pierre, SD passed away suddenly Tuesday, December 1, 2017 at his home in Wolsey.  Memorial Services will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, December 11 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Westbrook.  Visitation will be 5:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. Sunday at Westbrook Funeral Home.  Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at church.  Interment will be in the Westbrook Cemetery.  Online condolences may be sent at  Stephens Funeral Service – Westbrook Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Richard Allen Madson was born October 14, 1947 to Allen and Evelyn (Knudson) Madson in Slayton, Minnesota.  He was baptized and confirmed at the Lutheran Church in Westbrook.  Richard graduated from Westbrook High School in 1965 and attended college at South Dakota State University. Later he moved to Jamestown, ND and worked for Northern Prairie Research Center.  Richard was involved in conservation issues throughout his life.  He was regional Vice President of National Audubon Society.  Richard also worked for United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the DNR in the Dakotas.  He also helped fight wildfires in the south.  Richard was an avid outdoors man. His whole life he enjoyed going hunting, especially for waterfowl and deer.

Richard is survived by his brother Lee Madson of Westbrook, numerous cousins and many friends. He is preceded in death by his parents, four uncles and two aunts.

36 thoughts on “Richard Madson”

  1. Steve and Mary Larson

    Lee we are saddened to hear of the loss of Richard. He always was such a kind person, but I have some fun stories I could tell. Your mother was so kind to let all of us hang out at your home. He had jobs and positions he was passionate about. He served well. He will be missed.

  2. Fran (deFriess) Fier, class of '67

    So sorry to hear of your loss! Your brother was alot of fun and had many talents and passions!

  3. Brett and Wanda Hanson

    Our family was blessed to have Richard as our neighbor in Wolsey for 15 years. He was such an interesting man! When our daughter took a trip to Washington DC, he told her how he was a lobbyist there….he explained to our other daughter when she got the coaches award in sports how important that was and told her how his mother was on the first basketball team in Minnesota….he stayed out in the dark to find their lost kitten…he planted a tree in our front yard that even amazed him as to how big it got so fast!!! So many great memories we could share! He was such a kind man and will be sadly missed. Your family is in our prayers.

  4. Eunice Christensen

    Lee, please know you will be in my thoughts and prayers. I am sure you will cherish happy memories of your times with your brother, Richard. He touched and enriched many lives, I am sure. Sincerely, Eunice Christensen, Clive, IA.

  5. Lee and family. My condolences for your loss as you’ve lost a great person along with anybody that knew Richard. Just wanted to share my FB post as it tells just a small portion of how he affected I’m sure many. If you only have a few moments don’t start reading this. I hope it’s not true but I’ve heard a friend Richard Madsen has died recently. Richard and I became friends about six years ago as I had just moved back to Wolsey and began planting trees in my yard and everybody said ask Richard of who I have become to refer to him as the “Tree guy” if you have questions of which I had many. With his help I picked out trees to survive my lot and have watched them flourish. Along with that I know of how he became an advocate of a friend(s) killed by a drunk driver in Pickstown. Over the years we’ve spent many an hour by a fire and exchanged Christmas presents. Last year I gave him a smoked chicken and he asked what happened from the year before saying I gave him a smoked duck. Had to ask my smoked food source if they had duck and got a “no” must have been good chicken. Whatever the case this is a man I’ve spent many an hours with around a fire just talking about everything (did you know he liked indie music). Sad to say but 9 out of 10 people in this town never got to know Richard the tree guy, sad for them. Your base may be small but your impact is huge, you will be missed.

  6. Tom Weber Family

    We knew Rich we he lived in Jamestown. He was a true friend of the Weber family. He was the photographer at my wedding and I have several of his prints in my house. He encourage me to deer hunt and was with me, my wife Tammy and brother Bob when I shot my first deer near Dawson. The last time we had a Weber family reunion in Jamestown he came with his canoe and spent the weekend hanging out. We even planted some trees at Spiritwood lake. We considered him a member of our family. What a great person, he will be missed. Hunt Ducks Rich!

  7. Sorry to hear of your and honestly, everyone’s loss. I lived and worked with Rich for 2 summers in North Dakota when I was a budding young biologist and will never forget his passion, attitude and zeal for life. There was never a dull or laughter-less moment when Rich was around. He was no doubt one of the formative people in my life and gave me my first glimpse of the good character of Dakotans and those in our profession. While some people may not have agreed with his politics or actions, I respected and held him in high regard for the simple fact that he always held his ground, impassioned and resolute. The world is a lesser place without him and I will toss back a glass of dirty water and give my dog a good long belly rub tonight in remembrance of Rich as that is what he would have wanted.

  8. Christopher Cannon


    I’m so sorry to hear about Rich. I was fortunate to be one of the students Rich took to Washington D.C the Summer of 1980 to lobby with the National Audubon Society. Rich was one of the first individuals to teach me the importance of our earth and what it takes to keep it in its beautiful state. We spent hours laughing and enjoying each others company and I will always remember your brother’s intelligence, kindness and unrelenting efforts towards making this planet a wonderful place.

  9. Lee, I am sorry for your loss. May you find strength and guidance through your faith in our Lord throughout the coming days and weeks of morning. Prayers for you and family.

  10. Rich, as we called him, and I started college the same day in 1965 as Wildlife majors at SDSU, Brookings, SD. We all realized that Rich was one to get things done. He had many leadership jobs while a student at SDSU and he was involved and ready to share a hunting story. I recall one snow goose hunt west of Brookings near Whitewood Lake. Rich had found a land owner who gave him permission to hunt one of his picked corn fields. Rich invited me along and we arrived well before first light. None of us had much money and we could not afford fancy decoys so we used white paper plates. We must have set out 200 or so and held them to the ground by placing a dirt clod on top. We had a few dozen white paper bags and maybe a dozen real decoys. We did shoot a few geese that day but the hunt was a total experience from the trip over to picking up the last of the paper plates. That was one of many hunts we had over our college years. Rich operated on the investment philosophy that “shotgun shells in the closet was like money in the bank”. Some of that philosophy rubbed off on me. After college we each went our separate ways until late in our careers when we both ended up in Pierre. We re-lived many college stories and would often visit about the current wildlife political events. Rich was a good friend for many years but since he moved to Wolsey our paths did not cross often. My prayers and thoughts go to Rich’s family and friends. I will always remember Rich as one who made a difference. Dennis Unkenholz, Pierre, SD

  11. My condolences your family. I first met Rich on a blizzard day, in Wolsey, when he came over to Frosty’s to get something to eat. He was such a friendly, soft spoken man. He shared many stories about his days as a fire fighter with me. I always enjoyed seeing him and getting a sweet smile and a “good morning.” He was a very well read, intelligent man. That day of the blizzard, he opened his door to a couple of guys who were stranded, and that impressed me very much. He will be missed.

  12. Condolences to Lee and all Rich’s friends. I knew Rich from his Audubon days and then got reacquainted again when he worked in our Pierre Fish and Wildlife Service office. Such a gentle giant and lover of the great outdoors and people. Rich always knew how to bring people together. He was an exceptional man who will be missed by many.

  13. Dear Lee — My heart goes out to you. I hope it helps to know that your loss is shared by all of us who had the good fortune of spending time with your brother. Almost 3 decades ago, when Rich and I both worked on a waterfowl project in the North Dakota prairies, we discovered our Westbrook connection (our Pietz family farm is there, where I lived when I was in 2nd grade). While Rich had many talents, I was most impressed by his fervent advocacy for the natural world — for example, when he canoed the length of the James River, photo-documenting sources of pollution. Both soft-spoken and eloquent, kind and tenacious, he was an amazing and admirable human being. To echo the words of Dave Brandt, “the world is a lesser place without him.”

  14. I first met and worked with Rich at the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown, North Dakota.
    I remember him as an energetic, engaging and passionate fellow. We stayed in touch for a number of years.
    He left his imprint on much and many. May the memories of the life that family and friends have shared with Rich help ease your sorrow. May the Lord comfort you with His peace.

  15. Jon and Sheila Knudson

    Although most of us Westbrook High School alumni have drifted apart over the years, I still have so many great memories of that little town. As a matter of fact when am I asked by my friends and co-workers where I was raised I tell them I grew up in Mayberry. Where else would the town’s constable use their one jail cell for one purpose – to lock up John flatguard and Jeff Marshall’s bicycles because they were out past curfew. As a youngster I recall spending a lot of time at the little yellow Madson house. While you and I were frying ants with magnifying glasses, Richard would either be tending to his pet crow in the backyard or cleaning guns. You could kind of tell back then what his passions were.
    Then there was graduation night. Since Richard graduated with my sister Janice, our parents decided to have the graduation party at our house. For some reason her house was invaded by many many moths that night. I have photos of my brother Bob and Richard crawling all over mom’s kitchen countertops trying to slay these moths from a 10 foot high ceiling with fly swatters. All of us cousins have fond memories of the family picnics your parents had at the farm on double Lake. “Chipper” was always a major entertainer at these types of events! This is the same farm where he later planted hundreds of trees. Once again, you could kind of tell then what his passions were. We will miss you Richard.
    Jon and Sheila Knudson

  16. Denny & Barb (Wipperman) Erickson

    We were sadden to hear of Richard’s passing. He was a great classmate and always nice to everyone. Blessed Be His Memory.

  17. Lee,
    I was sad to hear of Richard’s death. When I think of him I always remember his laugh. He had a wonderful laugh!
    Like Jon, I too have memories of graduation night in Mom’s kitchen with Chipper and Bob catching moths. Mom was so embarrassed. We little cousins thought it was great fun!
    He was in charge of the fireworks at your farm on the Fourth of July. I loved that!
    Time spent with him was always fun. He was a wonderful guy who made the world a better place. He will be missed.

  18. Lee,
    I was saddened to learn of Rich’s death. Rich and I first met in 1969 and I was immediately struck by the intensity of his feelings and convictions on environmental issues many of which I shared. North Dakota back then still had a rich tapestry of prairies and wetlands but clouds were building on the horizon that were intent on changing the face of North Dakota and Rich recognized the stakes involved. The Garrison Diversion Project represented an emerging corporate face to agriculture in North Dakota intent on using its political clout to transform parts of central and eastern North Dakota without regard to environmental impacts particularly to prairie wetlands. Rich gave all he had to stand up to and stop this behemoth and against all odds he succeeded. He rallied farmers that were being adversely affected by the project and environmentalists from across the nation and beyond, and ultimately gained the political backing in Washington to bring about change that would alter the project dramatically. He was not alone in taking down Garrison but without him the project would have gone through and caused huge environmental damage to parts of central and eastern North Dakota. Through his actions, he literally changed the face of North Dakota or more correctly kept parts of North Dakota from changing in ways that would have been so damaging to the environment. For this we and future generations owe him a debt of gratitude.

  19. Harold and Deb Lamb

    We did not have the pleasure of knowing Richard, but after reading the many condolences that were written, we can see that he was a friendly, passionate and well liked guy. You have our deepest sympathy.

  20. Tom & Cindy Lindstrom

    So sorry to hear about Richard. I got to talk to him several times when I worked at Trinity. He was a great guy and will be missed by many.

  21. Lee,
    Please accept my condolences on behalf of North Dakota farmers with whom Rich faced giants. My father was one of those farmers, and just this September, I began trying to locate your brother so that I could discuss his role in that saga. I will have to let his family, friends and life work do the talking instead. You and your family are in my prayers.

    Ken Prom, formerly of rural Harvey, ND and former visitor to Wolsey, SD (651) 468-7805

  22. To Rich’s Brother,

    Hello. My family became acquainted with Rich when he was in Jamestown. He showed a caring compassionate side and more than a little stubbornness when dealing with the Garrison Diversion issues. I remember a particularly intense day in the Jamestown Civic Center, that I personally will never forget. You can be very proud of your brother for his ethical and truthful behavior that day. I echo what Gary said, and I have asked for his wisdom now, in recent years as ND faces more pressure every day. ND is one of the most wild states in its own way, and it may not stay that way long if others don’t emulate Rich and soon. I often thought he would make an awesome lawyer but wildlife had the good fortune of his compassionate intense interest. Those who knew him well are lucky, and I hope Rich finds peace in his new journey. I loved reading from others that he planted trees as my grandfather did the same. It was his way also of investing in wildlife. God Bless,
    Julie Barron-Arneson and the Barron/Berner/Swanson families

  23. Lee: I just learned of Richard’s death and I wanted to send my condolences. My family lived right across the street from you–Marvin Adams–and I remember when Richard was born. I was a babysitter for him a few times, and I remember him coming over to play in our yard when he was older. I also remember your wonderful parents–your mom was a gem! My deepest sympathies.

    Judy Adams Keiser

  24. Paul Lepisto & Donna Leslie - Pierre

    Donna and I are deeply saddened to hear of Rich’s death. You have our sympathies. I have many fond memories of working with him throughout the years. He was a great help to us on the Tony Dean memorial project. He also helped with the annual Missouri River/Lake Sharpe Clean Up in Pierre-Fort Pierre. We will also be forever grateful to him for his help at our house during the 2011 Missouri River flood. Rich had a great passion for the outdoors and our resources. I will always remember that and we will keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

  25. Lee, Rich was one of the best people I have known in my life. He taught my brother, Kevin, and I the beauty of the North Dakota Prairie and got me interested in photography and Rich was an amazing photographer. I know my brother is feeling the loss as much as anyone as they spent so much time together in the late 80s and early 90s. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you.

  26. I worked with Rich for a few years back in the 90’s for the USFWS in ND. We became friends. He was in my wedding party and whenever we got together he would talk about the fun he had at the party the night before at the bed and breakfast in Napoleon. I visited him several times in Wolsey he always had some beer in the frig to offer. I like the picture you have of him. I think I might have taken that one of him. Take care.

  27. Rich will be missed greatly. We had some very memorable adventures hunting and fishing. We always just picked the conversation wherever we left off when I’d stop on Wolsey or Pierre or finally catch him by phone. He knew everything about trees n shrubs. Gosh he’d save everything. Even the spent shotgun hills from our hunts as a reminder. He was always wanting to do “photo shoots” and was very good at them. I got to go on a fire detail to the Sandhills in NE with him and as always an adventure. Stories never ran out between us. So many memories. Hunt on Rich.

  28. I was deeply saddened to learn of Rich’s passing and my heartfelt condolences to Lee and family. I first met Rich while attending SDSU in the late 60’s. One of my favorite memories was strumming guitar with Rich while living in the college dorm. He shared the chords for “The House of the Rising Sun” and began what was to be many musical jams during our college days. It is still one of my favorite songs to play on the guitar. I, too remember Rich and his passion for hunting, especially waterfowl (ducks and geese). Like Dennis Unkenholz, there were many hunts in the areas surrounding Brookings using the famed white paper plates and later on moved up to white paper bags as well. When anchored with a dirt clod the bags would actually move a little in the wind. It was cost effective and we seemed to harvest a few snows and blues. In the summer of 1970 while working at the Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Rich, myself and two other guys lived in an old farm house just outside of Jamestown, North Dakota. Since we all shared a common interest in wildlife and had read Aldo Leopold’s Sand County Almanac, we dubbed our little residence “Sand County II”. We made a sign with the name Sand County II and affixed it to the top of the mail box, along with a nice mallard decoy. Probably not legal but the mail carrier never asked us to take it down. We enjoyed many nights of trap shooting, music around campfires and canoeing the James River that summer. Rich was always passionate and very articulate in defending natural resources from the impacts of development. Many an evening was spent discussing the impending Garrison Diversion Project, where as noted Rich played a major role in it’s direction. Rich and I kept in touch for a number of years after college but eventually lost touch with each other until recently. Two years ago we were fortunate to be able to reconnect during a pheasant hunt in South Dakota and spent time reminiscing about the days gone by. It was a good time. The conservation community has lost a fervent and ardent champion for natural resources and will be missed greatly. Rich was a gentleman, scholar of the environment, a teacher to many, and a friend to all. My thoughts and prayers are with you!

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