William F. Madden Jr., president and owner of Madden's Transfer and Storage, the family business, passed away on Friday. He was a great community leader with a long list of involvements in Saranac Lake, which he loved so much.
As a town father, you might have seen him cruising around in his Cadillac and even pulling over to the side of the road to chat. While big and confident, with a stature that was almost intimidating, he was warm and friendly when talking to him face to face. One might describe him as an old shoe. Comfortably shuffling around town, he was always interested in what opinions others had on issues.
Being in the moving business, he was a great barometer of the local economy. He could tell you if the population was shrinking or growing, or if a new business was interested in moving into the area. There wasn't a person he didn't know, or if one did sneak under his radar, he would make sure he met them.
William F. Madden
(Photo — Robideau Studios)
Bill had a deep, gruff, authoritative voice that would make all in the room take notice when he spoke in front of a crowd. It is no wonder he was asked to be involved in so many leadership roles. Besides being on the Saranac Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, he was involved with the Saranac Lake Rotary Club, Lions Club, Elks Club, Knights of Columbus, board of directors of the Saranac Lake General Hospital (now Adirondack Medical Center), advisory board of North Country Community College, board of Farmers National Bank and other things.
But Bill was mostly known for being heavily involved in organizations like Mount Pisgah and the Winter Carnival. He used his heavy equipment to help build the Ice Palace, and there were untold hours of work behind the scenes at every organization he was involved in. When he was named Citizen of the Year by the Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce, Phil Feinberg, then chamber president, touted him as "a man who I never heard say, 'It can't be done.'"
Bill Madden loved his community and was made from a different cloth that is difficult to find today. Luckily, he left behind his children and grandchildren, who are also hard-working and dedicated to carrying on his legacy of helping make this a better place.