Esther "Irene" Madsen was born March 20, 1916 at Coalville to Walter and Mary Mae (Crouse) Benson. She received her education in country schools in the Coalville and Swea City area. When she was 13 they moved to a farm in the Bancroft area.
At 14, her mother passed away leaving a family of nine children, so that changed their life considerably. The family all got together and decided they were all going to stay together.
In 1934, she was united in marriage to Jens Madsen at the Lutheran Church in East Chain, Minn. They farmed many years in the East Chain and Swea City area until 1977. They retired and moved to Cherokee. She was employed with Alco Discount Store for eight years.
She was a member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women. She enjoyed every minute she spent with her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. She also enjoyed playing cards with her neighbors and friends.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Jens Madsen; parents, Walter and Mary Mae Benson; and four brothers and four sisters.
She is survived by four children: Donna (Richard) Waterbury of Cherokee, Roger (Donna) Madsen of Spirit Lake, Karen (Harry) Tarrant of Crescent, Okla., and Dennis (Carol) Madsen of Fairmont, Minn.; eight grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren; and a very special niece, Pat Showalter; and many nieces, nephews, other relatives, and friends.