Dr. James A. Madison

Dr. James A. Madison, 87, of Sylva, N.C., passed away in the early morning hours of Dec. 15, 2015, following almost a decade-long, brave battle with cancer.

Born in Woodstock, Ill., on Jan. 12, 1928, to James Ambrose and Esther Victoria Anderson, he moved with his mother and sister Virginia to Webster, N.C. His mother was a first-generation American of Swedish descent.

In Webster, they lived with Robert Lee Madison and his wife Ella until Esther could afford to buy her own home in Sylva. After graduating Sylva High School, he attended Western Carolina University until he interrupted his education to join the Army from 1946-47. Upon returning to school he earned B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

He married Loy Malone of Louisburg, N.C., in 1953 and moved to Greencastle, where he began his teaching career. He earned his Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis and eventually became head of the Department of Geology and Earth Sciences at DePauw.

He chaired several important administrative committees. There is a scholarship established in his name at DePauw. He was a member of Sigma Xi Society.

He retired from DePauw University after 38 years and moved back to Sylva.

He was an avid outdoorsman and an accomplished carpenter. He made much of the household furniture and also built a sailboat, a canoe (including paddles) and custom bows and arrows and wrist guards so he could teach his children archery.

While he attended UNC, he became captain of their first gymnastics team and wrestling team and a Red Cross-certified water safety instructor. Later, during summer breaks from teaching, he volunteered at the local pool in Greencastle to teach swimming and diving and coach the swim team.

He was a member of the Indiana Guard Reserve.

James is survived by his wife, Dr. Sara Sutton Madison; daughter Kathleen (Dr. Craig) Snyder and their children Madison, Connor and Kaylee and Madison’s daughter Leila; daughter Martha and her son Wesley Tout; daughter Mary (Rob) Campbell; son James and his wife Paige and their four children Stefanie, Malachi, Penelope and James Robert Lee.

While teaching at DePauw, he and his wife Sara traveled extensively, including semesters in eastern Europe and Argentina with extended time in Sweden, Russia, Hungary and Spain.