James Frederick (Fred) Madison

September 17, 2019

ames Frederick “Fred” Madison died on September 17, 2019 in Poulsbo. He was 97 years old.

Born at home in West Seattle to Fannie Sofia (Saarela) Madison and

George R. Madison, he attended Gatewood Grade School and James Madison Junior High. The family moved to the Poulsbo area in Kitsap County in 1937, where he graduated from North Kitsap High School with the class of 1940.

Knowing from an early age that he wanted to make things from metal, he went to Edison Vocational School, Seattle, for several months then hired on as a laborer at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, where he was able to take an apprentice exam. An opening at Keyport Naval Torpedo Station allowed him to begin his training as a machinist. He received his Toolmaker certificate in August 1943 and continued to work at Keyport producing parts for torpedoes.

Because of his essential work at Keyport he had received draft deferment, but in 1946 he left to enter the merchant marine, making two trips across the Pacific to China, the Philippines and Japan. In October 1946 he enlisted in the Army and served with the 2nd Battalion 21st Infantry in the Army of Occupation in Japan until his discharge in February 1948.

While in Japan, his brother’s wife introduced him via mail to her friend, Mary Ellen Booth, and upon his return invited her to Poulsbo to meet him in person. They were married in August 1949 and made their first home in East Bremerton in

wartime housing near the current site of Harrison Memorial Hospital while Fred worked at the Naval Shipyard.

In the summer of 1950 they moved to Pasco, Mary Ellen’s hometown, where Fred was hired by the Pasco School District as a mechanical arts instructor. A son was born in November 1950 and a daughter in January 1953. The family returned to Kitsap County in the summer of 1953, where they found a home in the Sandy Hook area of North Kitsap, and Fred hired on again as a toolmaker at Keyport. Over the years Fred moved from working at machine tools to production control. In 1974, needing to reduce the workforce, Keyport offered an “early out.” With enough years to qualify for retirement benefits, Fred left civil service in August of that year.

Always a fisherman, he early on introduced his family to the joys of the sport, including the children’s derbies held in Suquamish where Chris, not quite six, caught the biggest salmon one year and won his first bicycle. Summer camping trips took the family to favorite streams in the northwest, especially the Madison River in Montana. In 1963 in search of big steel head Fred made his first trip to the Kispiox River in British Columbia with several others who were in the same machinist apprentice class at Keyport. In 1965 Mary Ellen accompanied him, beginning a yearly fall ritual which continued until 2001.

Over the years he switched from gear fishing to fly fishing, accumulating boxes and boxes of feathers and other fly-tying materials. As he improved his casting and tying skills, he was always willing to take time to introduce others to the fun of fishing in this way. He was a charter member of the Kitsap Fly Anglers, formed in 1989.

Fred was raised in the Lutheran faith and became a member of the Warren G. Harding Lodge of Poulsbo in 1944. He served as vice president and president of the Sandy Hook Park Community Club and as water superintendent his first year of retirement. He supported his wife in her volunteer work and his children in their school and athletic activities. He was most proud of helping to raise two good, caring and accomplished children.

In later years, Fred was known as a walker, visiting with residents up and down the roads of Sandy Hook. Always on the quiet side, Fred became quite social later in life. He thrived on good conversation and did his best to bring a smile to others. It always made his day when old friends would stop for a visit. Thanks especially to Randy, Jerry, Wendy and the rest of you for your time and friendship.

The family would like to thank all the kind folks at Brookdale in Poulsbo where Fred lived, who always had a warm and friendly greeting. Also, Adrienne at Martha & Mary where Fred would go weekly to visit old friends. And Bill, Richard, Ted and the rest of the kind people at Peninsula Outfitters, where Fred visited every Tuesday to get his Fly Fishing “Fix.” He loved to talk fishing and relive old fishing experiences.

He was preceded in death by his wife Mary Ellen. He is survived by his son Chris Madison and daughter Amy Madison Nordnes, and their children and grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at Stone Chapel in Poulsbo on October 26, 2019

at 1:00 p.m. Friends and family are invited.

Memorial donations may be made to Martha & Mary Health Services, P.O. Box 127, Poulsbo, WA 98370, or other charity of the donor’s choice.

He will be missed.

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