Mary Ellis Madden – to have known her was to love her.

It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of Mary, our loving and devoted mother, on December 19th, 2019 at the age of 96. She went home to our Lord and Savior while in the arms of her daughter, Debbie, and granddaughter, McKenna. Mary resided at Eagle Cliff Health Care for the past 5 years.

Mary was born on June 26, 1923 in Hubbell, Michigan to Bertha and Chassell Sampson. She told fond stories of her childhood spending time in the Central Mines at her family’s summer home. Her days were spent picking thimbleberries, exploring the old mines, picnicking, and enjoying time with extended family. She graduated from Lake Linden High School and attended Business School in Pontiac, Michigan. Mary later moved along with her parents to Rochester, Michigan where she worked as a secretary for Twist Drill Company. While in Rochester, Burton Harris came into Mary’s life and they were married in 1946. From this union they had three children, two sons and a daughter – Dale, Dean and Debra. Burton passed away in 1961 at the young age of 40 and Mary was left alone to raise the children.

In 1964 she married John Madden and left Michigan for Billings, Montana. While living in Billings she volunteered at Deaconess Hospital as a Pink Lady and assisted John in his insurance business. For 21 years, Mary and John spent their winters at their second home in Tucson, Arizona. Mary enjoyed reading, making Cornish pasties, flowers, birds, and especially traveling. Thanks to her brother, Chet, she traveled extensively throughout her lifetime. Some of her favorite trips included a paddle boat cruise down the Mississippi River, Hawaii, Mexico, and Europe.

The sweetest joy of Mary’s life was her family. She supported her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren with her unconditional love. Mary was very active each of their individual lives; she was ever present at the kids’ sporting events, concerts, recitals, and school programs.

She will be remembered most for her selfless nature and always putting her family first.

Mary was preceded in death by her parents, Chassell and Bertha; brother, Chet; sister, Betty and her two husbands, Burton and John. She is survived by her children Dale, Dean and Debra Harris-Smyle (Jerry) and stepchildren Colleen, Kelly, and Eileen. Mary will be remembered by her grandchildren Keani, Eric, Kate, Conner, Jacob, McKenna, and Mackayla; and her great grandchildren Arwen, Berlyn, Joshua, and Johnnie.

Although Mary lived in Billings for 55 years, she remained a true “Michigander” at heart. Mary cherished the Madden family and her loved ones in Michigan dearly.

She will be laid to rest in Terrace Gardens with her husband John.