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Alf Raymond Madsen, 79, of Grand Rapids, yodeled his way into the pearly gates of heaven on Saturday, March 18, 2017 surrounded by family and caring staff at Diamond Willow Assisted Living, Grand Rapids.

Alf was born Feb. 7, 1938 to Alf and Isabelle Madsen in Grand Rapids.

Growing up there and Trout Lake, he graduated from Grand Rapids High School in 1956. After graduating from college, Alf began teaching German and English in Roseau, Minn., then took his career to Deer River High School, teaching until his retirement in 2000. Additionally, Alf worked for Hawkinson Construction for many years.

He was an active member at Zion Lutheran Church and the Eagles Club in Grand Rapids. Alf had a long tradition of making maple syrup with his family and friends at Alf's Sugarbush camp at Skelly Lake. He also greatly enjoyed hunting, fishing, singing songs, telling jokes, making lefsa, gardening, hanging with his black labs, watching Minnesota sports teams, and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren.

Preceding him in death were his parents; and loving wife, Kathryn, of 36 years.

Alf is survived by his children with his first wife, Sharon: John (Jeanne) Madsen, Becky (Elden) Ybarra, Pauline (Mark) Eichorn, Marty (Jennifer) Madsen; son with wife Kathryn, Erik (Laura) Madsen; step-daughter, Karen Sue; grandchildren, Ashlee, Jason, Justin, Ryan, Drew, Kalee, Nicole, Anthony, Gabriel, Charles, Keller, and Piper; nine great-grandchildren; sister, Karen (Jerry) Johnson; brother, Terry (Cathy) Madsen; three nieces; and many cousins in the Grand Rapids area and Wisconsin.

VISITATION: 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. Memorial Service on Saturday, March 25, 2017 in Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church, Grand Rapids. Rev. Ben Buchanan to officiate.

Arrangements are with Rowe Funeral Home and Cremation Services of Grand Rapids. To sign the online guestbook or send condolences visit

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