Niels T. U. Madsen died peacefully on May 11th in the presence of his loving wife, Rachel, of 33 years. He was born in Borup, Denmark in 1943 to Matinus and Stella Madsen, and was the only boy of 6 siblings. He attended the Borup School and was an apprentice in his uncle’s bakery shop for 6 years prior to serving for a year in the Danish military. At the age of 19, he joined the Maersk Shipping Company and worked his way up to Chief Steward (chef) in a few years. He sailed around the world with Maersk for 26 ½ years, and accumulated many stories along the way that he enjoyed telling anyone who would listen throughout the years.
In 1989, he gave up his sea legs and immigrated to the United States, where he would meet the love of his life and settle in Midway, NC. The same work ethic that propelled him quickly up the ranks at Maersk, would also help him to successfully become the chef at RJR Nabisco, PepisCo and the BB&T university during a 20 plus year career in NC.
Known by many names, such as the Great Dane, Danish Dynamite and the Viking, he loved working in his flower beds, mowing the lawn, using his chainsaw and pruning the shrubs. He was also loved and remembered by many that met him along the way for his welcoming, jovial personality and strong handshake like no other. His stories, smile and fun hearted nature will be forever remembered by those who were fortunate enough to meet him and enjoy his company.
He is survived by his wife, Rachel Madsen, 4 sisters, 8 nieces and nephews and their families. Although he lived many years far away from his Danish family, he never lost contact and was adored by his sisters. He will be missed greatly, but as the poem by Christina Georgina Rossetti goes, he would want everyone to “miss me a little, but not too long, and not with your head bowed low. Remember the love that we once shared…miss me, but let me go.”
In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the School for the Deaf, 517 W. Fleming Dr., Morganton, NC 28655. There will be no services at this time. Online condolences may be sent to the Madsen Family at www.jcgreenandsons.com.
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