Laurel Deene Madsen

Laurel Deene Madsen passed away July 2, 2021, in St. George, Utah. He was born April 23, 1933, in Riverton, Utah to parents Alonzo Franklin Madsen, Sr. and Leona Gertrude Ferrell. He married Zella Floydene Tanner on November 19, 1951, in the Salt Lake City Utah Temple.

Laurel was the sixth child and second son born to the family. He enjoyed an active childhood living in various locations in Utah and Idaho. He loved working at farming and excelled in high school in the FFA at the local level in Lehi, Utah, and was also a state officer for FFA in Utah. He also was active in musical productions and high school basketball at Lehi High School.

Following his high school graduation, he attended Utah State University, Brigham Young University, and eventually the University of Utah. Laurel served as a missionary in the Denmark Mission in the mid-1950s.

Laurel and Floydene lived in Idaho, various locations in Utah and Arizona, and were blessed with 8 children along the way. They later realized their dream and settled in their beloved St. George where they had honeymooned years earlier.

Church service was important to Laurel, and he spent many years serving in the Sunday School, Primary, and various leadership positions wherever they lived. He and Floydene served two missions together, one in the Tulsa Oklahoma Mission and later as the coordinators of the Member Location Mission in St. George. His favorite church position was singing tenor in his local ward choir.

One of Laurel’s most pleasurable pastimes was fishing. He spent many wonderful hours at his favorite fishing spot on the Provo River. He shared fishing time with his brother, nephews, and his sons. When he moved to Arizona, each vacation was spent driving back up to Provo so he could go fishing.

Laurel is survived by his children: Jody (Russ) of Phoenix, Arizona, Ron (Joyce) of St. George, Utah, Kevin (Bonnie) of Lake Havasu, Arizona, Lance (Alicia) of Watford, North Dakota, Kirk, of St. George, Utah and Angela (Martin) of St. George, Utah; 25 grandchildren, 42 great-grandchildren and 8 great, great-grandchildren; two sisters, Janice of American Fork and Venice of Salt Lake City. He is preceded in death by his wife, Floydene Madsen, his parents, 1 daughter, Vicki Lee, 1 son, L.D., 1 great-granddaughter, one brother, and four sisters.

The family wishes to express special appreciation to Dez, along with all of the other wonderful caregivers with Intermountain Home Health and Hospice.

Services will be held at Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, Utah on Saturday, July 10, 2021, at 2:00 p.m. A viewing will precede the funeral services from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Interment services will take place in St. George City Cemetery.

Friends and family who are unable to attend are invited to view the funeral service online. Please click on the link below:

Funeral arrangements are made under the direction of Spilsbury Mortuary, 110 S. Bluff St., St. George, Utah, (435) 673-2454. Friends and family are invited to sign Laurel’s online guest book at




12:30 – 1:30 pm

Second Visitation


2:00 pm


Spilsbury Mortuary Chapel
110 S. Bluff
St. George, UT


3:00 pm
Saint George City Cemetery
650 E Tabernacle St, St. George, UT 84770

Guest Book

6 Responses

  1. Dearest Madsen family, I’m sure none of us are surprised that your parents wanted and needed to be together. While we mourn your great loss of both of them, we know you celebrate them being reunited and freed from mortal pain and limitations. May we join your innumerable friends in sending sincere love to you . Our happy, musical, fun, memories will continue as well as our gratitude for knowing them and you ..

    1. Thank you so much! Although we already miss them here with us so much, what a blessing it is for them to be at peace & together. Oh how they treasured your friendship! Thanks again!

  2. I spoke to Laurel very briefly on his birthday and he disclosed to me that he was dying, we both shed tears and said our goodbyes rather quickly because he had difficulty even putting forth the energy to speak on the phone. I shed a lot of tears after our phone call and ever since have pondered over our many experiences together being just four years apart.
    He was my older brother whom I adored, and he was my hero. He never got upset or spoke harshly, was patient and wasn’t blessed with Pop’s nervous system as I was. He took me sledding, and we spent many childhood games and play time together. He was always a lot of fun to be around. He was always popular and drew people to him.
    In Pocatello, we had a canal by the house. There was a flat round area that had a dam that created the perfect place for us to “swim” – really mud crawling. The dam was made of metal that came to a point at the top edge. One day I wandered too close to the dam and was quickly flipped over into the rushing water. There was a woman dressed in white at the edge of the “pond” telling me to hang on, hang on, as my pudgy little fingers grasped the sharp edge of the dam. My head was under the swiftly flowing water. I was three years old. Laurel quickly came to the rescue and pulled me back to safety by grasping my hair. I don’t remember anything else of the incident.
    Later that year, we were at Lava Hot Springs or Soda Springs – most likely Lava – and we were swimming again only this time in a real pool. Somehow I got away from the stairs and once again was under the water. Next thing I knew here was my big brother pulling me back to safety, and again by my hair.
    Twice he saved my life. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for him. Those nearly drowning experiences (and I had another later on) gave me such a fear of drowning that when I went into a lake or river, I would only swim parallel to the shore and where I could touch bottom. I worked at Saratoga Springs during the summer months and was taught to swim by Dick Eastmond who later became my boss. I was an excellent swimmer, so there was no other reason for me to be so afraid of the water.
    When we lived on the Saratoga Ranch in Lehi, on Friday nights, Pop and Mom went to the Salt Lake Temple. It was a long trip. After they had gone, Laurel would come to get me and said: Make Mom’s white cake, and let’s just eat the dough, and they will never know.” He was so thin so he could easily eat an entire cake, but I wasn’t and all that richness would make me sick if I ate much. But I made it for him, and I never remember anything left over. When we came home from school, he was always ravenous. He would pull out a quart of raspberries and start cutting bread slices. He would eat the entire jar of raspberries and who knows how many slices of bread with thick butter and jam on it. For breakfast, he would consume a stack of pancakes along with the bacon, ham, or sausage, eggs and cracked wheat cereal with cream on. I don’t know how he stayed so thin.
    He was Mom’s favorite, and on Saturdays she went grocery shopping. She would bring home cottage cheese, fresh grapes, and mix some pineapple in the cottage cheese and make him sandwiches and send me off to the field where he was working to serve him lunch as he drove the tractor. I sat on the hood while he ate food that wasn’t just meat and of course, a quart of milk!
    Once when we lived in North Salt Lake, the folks were gone on Saturday. They were gone for the day. It was during WWII and Ferrell had the great idea of building a soldier workout where Pop had cleared the land to build us a new home. We had seen many such things in the movies. I don’t know how we did it all. We had a large concrete pipe like a tunnel to go through. We had old tires that we had to run through putting one foot in each tire at a time. She and Laurel built some kind of a wall that we had to climb up with ropes and swing down the other side. We worked so hard building it all day and were just having fun going through the routines when Mom and Pop got home. Pop was upset and demanded we take it all down and put everything back where it had been.
    Mom used to watch Laurel as he headed for the barns to milk the cows on the ranch. It was quite a walk, and I am sure it wasn’t the most desirable thing for Laurel each night. Mom would stand at the front door which had a window in it and watch him as he slowly headed to the barn. I can recall her saying: if you moved any slower, you wouldn’t be in motion.
    Laurel and Floy had the leads in the high school opera. Every night, Laurel would insist I play for him so he could practice his parts. It just comes to me now an ah-ha moment. Is that why I have never liked plays! It was the same routine over and over and over. However, when I actually went to see the production, he really stole the show. He fell flat on his face without putting his hands in front of him to break the fall. He used to practice doing it on the bed. I don’t know how he didn’t break bones! Putting on that play where Floy had the lead and Laurel was the rogue was where they must have fallen in love.
    Before I was born, the family moved from Riverton to Huntington Park, CA. Laurel was the baby then. I was always curious about life there. They had a café as I recall as they had had in Riverton before they moved.
    Because Laurel worked so hard on the ranch, I had the dubious assignment of making his bed for him each morning. His room was what had previously been the bathroom. A double bed barely fit against three walls. It didn’t matter whether it was summer or winter, he had nine quilts piled up on him. I don’t know how he existed under those heavy quilts in the summer. And I certainly didn’t enjoy climbing on the bed to make it because I only had one side where I could access it.
    One day in North Salt Lake, Laurel came in and told me it was time to go to bed. I slept with him in the basement at the time. So I obediently got ready for bed. He came and “tucked” me in and then went out laughing. He didn’t come to bed for a couple of hours afterward. He was always doing jokes.
    Saturday, we were able to ride the Bamberger to Salt Lake and go to a movie for a dime. Because Laurel was so tall, Mom had to send a note with him to state he was only eleven because they always wanted to charge him for an adult ticket.
    Behind our house there was an irrigation canal where we could go swimming in the summer. We had some very pleasant times cooling off in the hot summer months. Once Laurel and Pop were building a barn at the edge of the canal and putting up a fence so the cows wouldn’t get out. Pop would pound the posts in while Laurel held them. Once Pop missed the post and hit Laurel in the head. Blood spurted everywhere. I was sure he was dying, and I cried hard. It wasn’t until later when one of my own children fell and hurt her head I realized that head wounds naturally spurted a lot of blood.
    Neither Laurel nor I liked liver. He was very resourceful. He would fill his mouth up with the liver and then go to the bathroom so he could empty his mouth. I wasn’t so smart, so I got into trouble. I just threw mine on the floor.
    One very vivid image remains when I was in third grade and Laurel was in sixth grade, I would always hurry out so I could get a swing during recess. Every day this bully would come over and demand the swing from me, and I was so scared I quickly got out and gave it to him. I told Laurel about it. The next day when the bully came to steal the swing from me, Laurel suddenly showed up and grabbed the kind out of my swing, and held him tightly by his shirt at the neck and threated to mop the earth with him if he ever did anything mean again to “his little sister”. I shall never forget how safe I felt then and afterward knowing that my brother would take care of me.
    I shall miss you dear brother. I am so happy you are free of the body that held you captive for 35 years. I have imagined your meeting with your son and your daughter and Floy. How happy you must be now. How great the reunion must have been with parents, siblings, nephews, nieces, uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, friends, etc. You are still my hero!
    Mucch heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to Angie, Martin, and their children for the loving care given to my brother. He talked to me about it on occasion, and I know you were very close. You are great humanitarians and probably the reason why he still wanted to live as he expressed to me on his last birthday.

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