She is Gone
You can shed tears that she is gone
or you can smile because she has lived.
You can close your eyes and pray that she’ll come back
or you can open your eyes and see all she’s left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see her
or you can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember her and only that she’s gone
or you can cherish her memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind,
be empty and turn your back
or you can do what she’d want:
smile, open your eyes, love and go on.
Teacher. Athlete. Reverend. Counselor. Artist. Writer. Scholar. Military Advocate. Musician. Photographer. Leader. Outdoor Enthusiast. Mother. Friend.
While most would hear or see such a list and envision a different face for each occupation or title, for those that know Alma Lurlene Madsen, known by her loved ones as just Lurlene, they see just one beautiful and precious face with an incredible smile. Lurlene was all of these different things and so much more! A person could go through their whole life and not meet anyone as accomplished and as loved as Lurlene, but for those who have known her, they are truly blessed to have known such an incredible woman.
On Friday, February 17, 1950, a beautiful little girl was born in Dallas, Texas. From the start, all who met little Alma Lurlene fell in love with her. Her curly red hair and jovial nature charmed so many! As a little girl, she always tried to help others, and it was no different when she grew up. Lurlene supported those who were less fortunate and was the type of person who would give you the shirt off of her own back. It is no wonder that her huge heart was also a heart for the Gospel and for ministry. Lurlene became an ordained minister through Full Gospel Churches International. Reverend A. Lurlene Madsen lived a life of love and compassion as she ministered to those she met or knew. She used her ministry to spread the love of God and Jesus. Sometimes she showed God’s love by teaching others the English language, helping some obtain the GED, or coach others in how to apply for citizenship. Many people across Dallas and Texas were greatly impacted by Lurlene’s teaching spirit and love for others. Lurlene taught others about God, Christ, and salvation. These precious lessons were truly marks of Lurlene’s legacy and have changed hearts and families for the absolute better. Lives were forever changed by Lurlene’s love and desire to serve God by serving and loving on others.
As a minister, but also as a wife, mother, grandmother, and friend, Lurlene also taught others about faith, hope, and love. Lurlene’s faith never wavered throughout life’s challenges. Even when life seemed to take too much or get too hard, Lurlene overcame with radiance and grace. She never lost faith in God or His plan for her. As her family put it, she knew she had a job here on earth, and she trusted that God would provide what she needed until her job here was finished. As Lurlene battled with lung disease for 30 years, she had faith that God would not give her more than she could handle. She rose above her challenges and continued to lead as normal of a life as she could. Faith mixed with a stubbornness and strength that only Lurlene possessed kept her hopes alive. Watching her overcome struggle after struggle taught her family to always hope and keep preserving. Even when her illness took away her freedom and left her homebound, she still looked ahead with hope as she made friends, continued to bring people to Christ, and never stopped her pursuit of learning, loving others, and praying. Perhaps the people that most experienced God’s love through Lurlene was her family. Lurlene loved each member of her large family dearly. She loved her children so much and moved from Texas to Connecticut to be closer to them. Her love knew no bounds though, and she still maintained strong, loving relationships and bonds with her family members that still resided in Texas. Even when she could no longer travel, she relished spending time with family when they visited from Texas because of Chris and Adrianna Reynolds. Their visits meant so much to her, and their help getting her to Mama Frances’ 80th birthday party was amazing! All of her family knew how to love by watching and experiencing her love. Lurlene loved others so much, but of all the people in the world, she loved her family the most.
Lurlene loved others, but she also had a love for life and found joy in various pleasures around her. One of her great passion was the outdoors. She adored being outdoor amongst nature and sunshine. Together with her husband, Orville Madsen, they would go on adventures hiking and camping all while exploring the beauty around them. They made so many memories as they slept in tents under the stars or drove their RV from state to state. Each outdoor adventure gave a glimpse at God’s majesty and wonder as they walked through His beautiful creation. While outdoors, Lurlene pursued various hobbies and sports. She liked the rush of water skiing, sailing on sunny days, swimming off of warm beaches, kayaking in calm waters, riding dirt bikes with nature flying by, and running with the sky above her. She was a true athlete! As a sportswoman, Lurlene also picked up a passion for hunting, fishing, and shooting. While hunting, she was a great shot with a shotgun and a bow. She also enjoyed fly fishing in rivers as her fly lure danced in the air and experiencing the thrill of that tug on the end of the line. Lurlene loved the outdoors, but she also found passions inside as well. She was a true artist in many ways, both in visual art and music. Lurlene’s use of colors and brush strokes created beautiful paintings. She was also very skilled at producing life-like drawings. Lurlene also became quite the photographer as she took beautiful photos of nature sceneries and family pictures. Her use of different mediums was quite extraordinary. She would use various items like stones and wood to make crafts for her family to enjoy. Creativity seemed to pour from her fingertips, and it was especially true when she played the guitar. Lurlene taught herself to play the guitar, and she would strum chords as she sang different songs, much of which were gospels. However, while gospel was her favorite type of music, she was also a pretty big Elvis fan as well. Her family and friends loved to hear Lurlene play and sing as she worshipped her Savior. Just as she was an artist with paints and music, Lurlene was also an artist when it came to words. She was a writer who loved to put her ideas and thoughts onto pages for others to read. In fact, Lurlene was working on writing two books to publish. It is no surprise that she picked up writing with her love of books and literature. Lurlene was an avid reader who loved to learn. As she grew older and wiser, she never stopped pursuing knowledge as she studied about God, scriptures, politics, and more. Lurlene even took some time to study Hebrew and Spanish. With all of her knowledge and experience, so many people came to get advice from her, from her family to friends she knew. Lurlene was a wonderful listener and confidant. She provided sage wisdom and offered support whenever it was needed. Especially when she was a Navy Officer’s wife, she supported and advised the other wives about what was right and what was wrong. She led these women and other by example in kindness, generosity, and morality. As a natural leader, not only did she help the other officer wives, but she made life fun as well in their little group. Lurlene was always ready to have fun with her bright smile and wit. Even when others scared her as a prank, she’d join in on laughter. There was just so much to Lurlene and each hobby, personality trait, passion, and gift made her so special to all who knew her.
If Lurlene’s dedication, inner strength, and abounding love could have kept her here with us, she would have never left. However, in the early morning of February 14, 2020 in New London, Connecticut, God called His good and faithful servant home to her eternal glory. As her family put it, “She joined Jesus and her Heavenly family…It is only fitting [that] she be wrapped in Heavenly love on Valentine’s Day—the day of love.” In her last moments, Lurlene was surrounded by her family, both in person and on the phone, as her beloved gospel music played around her. As her family’s love, laughter, and tears embraced her here on earth, she passed peacefully into the love of her Heavenly Father. Each moment of her life, Lurlene knew and felt just how much her family, friends, and community loved and adored her. “We lost a great woman here, but Heaven gained an Angel!”
Alma Lurlene Madsen is survived by her daughter, Melissa Meadows and husband, Jonathan Meadows, Sr.; her son, Glen Myers, Jr. and wife, Trish Hanson; her mama, Frances Shafer; her father, Lonnie Burch; her brother, Ronald Shafer and wife, Kemberly; her sisters, Sharon Williams and husband, Keith, and Carolyn Pearcy; her grandchildren, Benjamin Meadows, Lizbeth Myers-Meadows, Jonathan Meadows, Jr., Timothy Meadows, Alice Hanson, Abigail Oviatt-Myers, Colin Hanson, and Nate Hanson; her great-grandsons, Oliver Meadows and Jonathan Meadows III; her first husband, Glen Myers, Sr.; her uncle, Henry Brown; her cousin, Chris and wife Adrianna; and numerous nephews and nieces, as well as great-nephews and -nieces. Alma Lurlene Madsen is preceded in death by her husband, Orville Madsen, her mother, Alma Fourkiller; her step-mother, Vanita Burch; her grandmother and grandfather; her brothers, David Shafer and Gary Shafer; her uncles, Forrest Brown and David Brown; and her aunts, Willetta Lemons, Marie Fogus, and Dorthy Brown.
Alma Lurlene Madsen lived such a wonderful life, full of not only adventures and passions, but also of faith and love. Each aspect of her life and lessons will be cherished and remembered by her loving family and all who were fortunate enough to know this angel on earth.
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