Obituary: Peter E. Madden, 84

by | Dec 15, 2021

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Peter E. Madden, 84, died peacefully on December 11, after a six-month combat with metastatic melanoma. He lived gratefully and fully until his final two weeks. His cherished grandchildren called him “Pa,” his sons called him “Dad” or “Pop,” and to his wife, he was “Dear.” Others called him friend, mentor, teacher, coach, trusted ally, Pete, or Peter.

On April 21, 2021 he told his oncologist, “Well here I am, on my birthday. I’ve lived 84 years. I have a great wife, great sons, two terrific daughters-in-law, and six wonderful grandchildren. I’ve had two careers and enjoyed both. Doc, do what you can.”

His 84 years were full ones. He graduated high school at 17, attended URI, joined the U.S. Army, serving in Germany, and obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees from URI. He taught history and government at North Providence High School for 29 years, and for several years, he represented the North Providence Teachers Union, Local 920, as its chief negotiator. He held a lifelong commitment to fairness, justice, and the belief that everyone deserves a chance to get ahead. Encouraged by family and friends, he studied law at Suffolk University where he earned his J.D., cum laude. During that time, he and his wife, Barbara Saccoccia Madden, joyfully welcomed three sons: James (Jim), David, and Steven. His second wife, Mary, became their stepmother; she gratefully enjoyed 44 years as part of their lives.

Peter’s second career as an Elder Law attorney spanned 30 more years, during which he helped people plan their estates for future security. Five families were awaiting his counsel this week.

Beyond the curriculum vitae, who WAS Peter Madden? He was brilliant. Ask anyone. He had a keen intellect, wit, and a memory that amazed all. A family joke likens him to Google: “Just ask”

He was fiercely loyal: to family first, but also to friends and clients. He kept his word. You could rely on him. Always.

He believed passionately in equality of educational opportunity regardless of gender or status. He encouraged all students seeking higher education – females as often as males. Former students borrowed his bar review notes when following a similar career path.

He loved hockey as much as he loved life. On his last day, straining to speak, he approvingly mentioned three grandsons’ positions as defensemen on their hockey teams. He was assistant coach of the 1962/1963 North Providence High School championship hockey team. A student member of that team is a friend and professional colleague to this day.

Mostly, he was pragmatic and ever-grateful. “You’re born, live your life the best you can, and then you die.” Often he would comment to Mary, “Who has it better than us? No one.”

Besides his wife Mary, Peter is is survived by three sons: James Madden; David Madden and his wife, Jennifer Bosworth Madden, with their children: Daniel, Matthew, Timothy, and Cassandra; and Steven Madden and his wife, Melissa Paniccia Madden, with their children: Joseph and Jonathan. He is also survived by his brother, Robert, and sister-in-law, Donna.

Peter’s funeral service will take place at Carpenter-Jenks Funeral Home in West Warwick on Friday, December 17 at 10:00 AM, followed by a burial with military honors in the RI Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Exeter, RI. Calling hours will be Thursday, December 16, from 5:00-8:00 PM. Guests must wear masks at all times.

In honor of Peter’s commitment to public education, donations may be made to the Edward E. and Louise E. Madden Scholarship Endowment of the University of Rhode Island, for first generation college students.

You can leave an online condolence at the funeral home HERE.

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