Community - August 4, 2010

Madsens celebrate 70 years together

Thor and Jonelle Madsen of Atherton will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary with a party at Trader Vic's in Palo Alto on Aug. 28. It will also be Mr. Madsen's 94th birthday.

The Madsens were married at their minister's home in Los Angeles in 1940. As Jonelle was still attending Los Angeles High School, they had to sign a commitment letter to the superintendent of schools promising she would not become pregnant or talk about marriage with other students until graduation, say family members. Thor continued his education at Los Angeles City Junior College.

The young couple moved north to Richmond, where he worked on the shipping docks during World War II. After the war, they settled in San Carlos to raise their family.

Mr. Madsen founded the Thor Madsen Plumbing Company. He was active in San Carlos civic affairs, serving on the City Council from 1970 to 1973, and as mayor in 1973. He was also appointed to serve as a liaison between the mayors of San Mateo County and San Francisco.

The Madsens moved to Atherton in 1974.

In 1981, Mr. Madsen and his business associates founded the Bay Area Bank of Redwood City. He remained an active participant in the bank until 2000.

He was a member of the Lions Club, 75 Club, Squire's Club, Elks Club, and Athletics Club. A softball field was named for him at Burton Park, where he played ball for 25 years. He served on the San Carlos Park and Recreation Commission for 14 years, with three years as president. He was a founding father and lifetime member of the PACE organization.

Along with raising three children, Ms. Madsen was active in the 75 Club, Junior Matrons, and the Atherlons. Both Madsens were active participants in the Chicken Ball, San Carlos' big theatrical production and fund raiser for the local schools.

The Madsens have three children, Barbara Woodward of Del Mar, John Madsen of Palo Alto, and Carolyn Caine of Los Angeles. There are seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The information for this story was provided by the Madsen family.


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