LAMOILLE — Dean Madsen, a beloved member of the LaMoille community, turned 95 on Saturday, and the town pulled out all the stops with a parade celebration to honor a man who has meant so much to their community.
For many years, Madsen was a very active member of LaMoille and Bureau County. He moved to LaMoille in 1956. He served as the LaMoille High School principal before becoming the district superintendent when LaMoille became a unit school district. While superintendent, Madsen also was involved in the state legislative committee for the Illinois High School Association.
Aside from his career in education, he served on numerous local boards and committees over the years.
He served on the Bureau County Board for numerous years, was a LaMoille fireman and served as a fire district trustee for many years. He was a longtime active LaMoille Lions Club member, even receiving the Melvin Jones award — a distinguished honor in the organization.
Madsen was also involved in the LaMoille American Legion for several years and was actively involved in the Clarion Lutheran Church, serving in many leadership roles within the church.
A parade was put on outside Madsen’s home near the old LaMoille train depot on Saturday. It was escorted by a Bureau County Sheriff’s Office deputy and a fire truck from the LaMoille Fire Department. The parade included numerous friends, neighbors, former students, a LaMoille school bus decorated to honor Madsen, the 1955 LaMoille Homecoming Queen Carol Haas, the 2019 LaMoille Homecoming Queen Emma Lundquist, LaMoille Ambulance and even Buttons the Clown.
The parade had been a complete surprise for Madsen, and the honor left him speechless at the end. Members of his families joined him on the curb outside his home and accepted birthday cards from the parade members. Madsen was even serenaded by a member of the LaMoille Ambulance who sang “Happy Birthday” and “He’s a Jolly Good Fellow” over his bullhorn to Madsen as he drove by in the parade.