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Juneau resident and veteran Alaska bush pilot Charles "Tom" Madsen Sr., 52, died Wednesday, April 10, 2002, when the Aleutian Spirit, his twin-engine E-18S, crashed after take-off from the Juneau Airport.
He was born and raised in Kodiak and got his student pilot's license when he was 14. For 18 years, he was the owner and chief pilot of Aleutian Air of Unalaska until 1999 when he moved to Juneau with his family.
His family said flying was the love of his life and he crisscrossed the state during his career, delivering cargo and passengers in Kodiak, Cordova, the North Slope, Juneau and the Aleutian and Pribilof Islands. They also said he saved many lives, often risking his own safety to fly where no one else could go. He was known as the "Aleutian Aviator" throughout Alaska.
He was preceded in death by his father, Master Guide Alf Madsen.
He is survived by his wife of 24 years, Stephanie; mother L. Maxine Elliott, Medford, Ore.; brother Brad Poland, Missouri; sister Shari Howard and her husband Bill, Fairbanks; sons Tom Jr. and Haans and daughter Melinda; dog Rollie; and numerous extended family members in Kodiak and friends throughout Alaska and the Lower 48.
A memorial service will be held at 5:30 p.m. Monday, April 15, 2002, in the Ward Air Hangar. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, remembrances by made to either: The Haans and Melinda Madsen Education Fund at Key Bank (Account No. 470329023514) or Wells Fargo Bank (Account No. 1140455344), or KAKM-Alaska Weather, in memory of Tom Madsen, 3877 University Dr., Anchorage, AK 99501.