Terrance J. "T.J." Madson, 48, of Great Falls, an auto mechanic and Army veteran, died of liver failure Sunday, November 1, 2009, at Peace Hospice.
Cremation has taken place, and a vigil service is 7 p.m. Friday, November 13, 2009, at Chapel of Chimes Funeral Home. Funeral Liturgy is 11 a.m. Saturday, November 14, 2009, at St. Luke the Evangelist Catholic Church.
T.J. was born in Butte, Mont., to Doris (Perkovich) Madson and Marlyn "Doddy" Madson on April 18, 1961. He spent most of his life in Great Falls, where he attended C.M. Russell High School, graduating in 1979.
T.J. enlisted in the United States Army right after graduation. He spent most of his time with the Army in Alaska. He was a mechanic, and he tested cold-weather equipment for the Army at the North Pole. While in the Army, he learned to play the guitar and also discovered a love of stockcar racing. He loved Alaska and the four years he spent living there.
T.J. returned home in 1983, to Great Falls, and began working as an auto mechanic. He was self-employed for a few years and then also worked at Tire-Rama and Alby's Car Care Center.
T.J.'s after-hours passion was playing guitar in several local bands throughout the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. He was a DJ and performed for parties and weddings as well. His love of music was a beautiful thing to see.
T.J. was an avid hunter and fisherman. He loved camping, watching NASCAR and football. And, of course, there was always a good old-fashioned western.
T.J. met the love of his life in Riverton, Wyo., while traveling with one of his bands. He and Kala Sue Schamber were married in Great Falls on Oct. 14, 1989. They had two sons, Christopher, who is 21 years old, and Dalton, who is 6 years old. Sadly, Kala passed away on June 10, 2009.
T.J. fought his health battles with a strength and courage that stretched his time with us well beyond what we had been told. He lost his well-fought battle but his love for his family will continue on.
Anyone who knew T.J. saw his big heart and big smile. He was kind and helped anyone who needed a hand. He was a father to anyone in need. He was "Uncle T.J." to any one of the children he was with. He gave whatever he had to help a friend. He had a great sense of humor and a larger-than-life personality. He was passionate and wasn't afraid to speak his mind. He will be missed by so many.
T.J. is survived by his two sons, Christopher Aaron and Dalton Wayne; a grandson, Rory Holden; his mother, Doris Madson Lindquist; a sister, Marlyann (John) Verploegen; and a niece, Meghan Lawson. He also is survived by Judy and Leonard Haxby, Pam Cote, Holly Ferguson and Leon Gulbro, all of Butte, and Carrie Wilmes of Houston, Texas.
T.J. was preceded in death by his wife, Kala Madson, father Marlyn "Doddy" Madson; grandparents Robert and Mary Perkovich and Mabel Gulbro and Magnus Madson; and numerous aunts and uncles.
Memorials are suggested to Peace Hospice, 1101 26th St. S., Great Falls, MT 59405.
Condolences may be posted online at www.chapelofchimesfunerals.com and/or www.gftribune.com/obituaries.