James William Madden, 77, died at home in Oak Park on Feb. 2, 2023, surrounded by his family. Born on Nov. 7, 1945, he grew up in River Forest, where he attended St. Luke School and Fenwick High School. He treasured his childhood summers with parents Joe and Margaret, siblings Joe, Mary, John, and Maggie, and many friends with whom he remained close across decades. He went on to earn both bachelor and master degrees in History at Marquette University. As a student he spent a year in Spain, where he developed a lifelong love of quality espresso. His fascination with history and global affairs persisted even through his final days and his prodigious intellect never faded. 

He worked in a variety of fields throughout his life, starting as a lifeguard in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where the Madden family vacation home is located. He was a reporter, a social worker, and a commodities broker before embarking on a 30-year career as an investigator with the Cook County Public Defender’s Office. He worked diligently in a profession dealing with the struggles of humanity on a daily basis, yet remained affable, optimistic, and sensitive to the beauty in the world.

James Madden is survived by his wife of 37 years, Leslye Madden, his son John and daughters Olivia and Lara. He was also the father of Maria Grace Madden who died at a young age. He was the brother of John, Mary and Maggie and the grandfather of Jack and Will. He will be sorely missed.

Visitation was held on Feb. 6 at Zimmerman-Harnett Funeral Home, 7319 W. Madison St., Forest Park, followed by Mass at St. Luke Catholic Church in River Forest. Interment will be private.

Donations in his memory may be made at https://www.curemelanoma.org or https://www.misericordia.com.

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