Obituary: Debbie A. (Shaw) Madison, 60

by | Sep 5, 2021

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Debbie A. (Shaw) Madison, 60, of North Kingstown, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loving family on Aug. 30 after a courageous battle with cancer. She’s survived by her devoted husband of 42 years, Barton C. Madison.

Born in Norfolk, Va., she was the daughter of the late Leo and Alice (DeMello) Shaw. Debbie moved to Jamestown as a young child after her father retired from the Navy, it was also where she met her future husband Bart. They ultimately moved to North Kingstown to raise their family on her husband’s family farm.

Debbie was extremely active and played in many adult sporting leagues including volleyball and softball. She also loved bowling, sewing and knitting. She knitted every one of her grandchildren, or any new life that crossed her path, a hat. Additionally, she held many jobs including different positions while working at the Bridal Garden in East Greenwich and catering at the Aldrich Mansion in Warwick. She also worked side-by-side with her husband managing and running their family farm, which has been servicing the local community for generations.

Since 2005, Debbie and Bart have been foster parents through the North American Family Institute (NAFI), opening their home to many kids and raising them as if they were their own – something Debbie treasured and felt lucky to have had the opportunity to do. They also housed many foreign exchange students over the past few decades.

She took on many roles throughout her life including wife, daughter, sister, mother, aunt, Mema, friend, grandmother, foster mother, guardian, member of the community and so much more. She’ll be remembered as the type of person you wanted in your corner. Her willingness to help those she loved knew no bounds, and she often knew what you wanted or needed before you knew it yourself. She loved to bring everyone together, and organizing and hosting events was her speciality. She was active in her children’s and grandchildren’s schools, often helping with fundraising events.

The one “title” she lived for was being a mom or Mema, as many called her. You could find her sitting on her porch overlooking the farm and admiring her family and friends coming and going.

Besides her husband, she’s survived by her children, D. A. Madison Gresh, Manton Madison II (Kyla), Richard Madison (co-parent Kiran), Mary Madison (Morgan), Adam Dunham (Christelle), Dean Madison, Brandon Palumbo, Emily Harvey, Keith and Amiya Turner, Mal Madison and CJ Brown and his family. She was the grandmother to Kenzi, Lexi, Owen, Graiden, Ryleigh, Cooper, Lucy, Forrest, Callon, Beckett, Mason, Easton and Elianna. She was the sister to Steve, Kenny, Leo, Danny, Billy and Charlie Shaw, and Candi Horta, and numerous nieces and nephews. She is survived by her father-in-law, Manton E. Madison.

A celebration of her life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, we kindly request that contributions be made in her memory to The Mema Playground Fund c/o The Forest Park Elementary School PTO, something that was near and dear to her heart, as she was instrumental in putting in the first playground at the school over 30 years ago and recently helped fundraise for new equipment to be installed and replaced.

Venmo: @ForestParkPTO-NorthKingstown (Note: Mema’s Playground Fund)
Or make checks payable to:
Forest Park PTO
(Memo: Mema’s Playground Fund)
50 Wood Lawn Dr.
North Kingstown, RI 02852

You can leave an online condolence at the Hill Funeral Home website HERE



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