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Merlin “Red” Madsen

Kossuth County Advance - Staff Photo - Create Article

August 25, 1930 - May 8, 2023


Merlin “Red” Madsen, age 92, of Burt, passed away on Monday, May 8, 2023, at the Algona Manor Care Center. Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. on Saturday May 13 at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Burt, with services livestreamed on St. John’s YouTube page. Burial will take place in the Burt Township Cemetery with military rites conducted by the Iowa Army National Guard and the Burt Area Veterans. Visitation will be 5–7 p.m. on Friday at the Church. The Lentz Funeral Home of Burt is serving the family. Condolences may be left at

Merlin (Red) Madsen was born on Aug. 25, 1930, to William and Mathilda (Ostwald) Madsen in Whittemore. He was baptized and confirmed at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Cylinder. In 1944,  the family moved to a farm west of Burt. He graduated from Burt High School in 1947 and joined his dad in farming. He was united in marriage to Doris Salisbury on Nov. 18, 1951, at St. John’s Lutheran Church at Burt. Red served his country for two years. After his return he and Doris began their partnership of farming and teaching. They were blessed with two children, Steve and Sandi.

Red’s life was fulfilled by his faith, his family, his friends and of course, farming. He was a member of St. John’s Lutheran Church in Burt where he held offices of trustee and elder for many years.

Red enjoyed the life the farm offered him and took great pride in his crops. He also enjoyed auctions—having worked as clerk at the Algona Sale Barn for over 60 years and as clerk for local auctioneers for many household and farm sales. It was here that he made many long-lasting friends.

Merlin served several years on the Burt Elevator Board and twelve years as a Burt Community School Board member.

Many remember Red for his collection of farm toys, antique furniture and enjoying cattle shows at the Kossuth Co. Fair and the Iowa State Fair.

Left to cherish Merlin’s memory are his wife, Doris; his children Steve (Vickie) Madsen, Burt and Sandi (Gary) Gordon, Wallowa, Ore.; his grandchildren Shane (Sarah) Madsen, Galen (Lacey) Gordon, Jill (Jake) Salmonson and Jessica (Mike) Sherbondy; his great-grandchildren Brennan Madsen, Mollie Madsen, Gage Gordon, Ralen Gordon, Hayden Salmonson, Hudson Salmonson, Caleb Sherbondy, Carsyn Sherbondy and Easton Sherbondy. Also his sisters Marcella Johnson, Evelyn (Tom) Larsen, Janice (Don) Reimers, Rosann (Boyd) Shipler and brother Don Madsen along with many nieces and nephews.

Proceeding him in death are his parents, parents-in-law, brother William Madsen and his wife Janet, brother-in-law Milton Salisbury and his wife Jean, brother-in-law Charles Johnson and sister-in-law Pam Madsen.

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