May 19, 1922 ~ May 6, 2019 (age 96)


Mabel Failes Madden, age 96, departed this life on May 6th surrounded by her loving family at the Manor House in Seaford, Delaware.  She was the wife of Dr. Kenneth Madden, Sr. also of Seaford, who is a former Delaware State Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Mabel is survived by two daughters, Adele Madden of Wilmington, DE, and Judy Rhodes, of Rehoboth Beach, DE, another daughter, Eileen predeceased her in 2012, and a son, Dr. Kenneth Madden, Jr. (Mikki), of Seaford. Nine grandchildren Richard Beckman (Michelle), Melanie Thompson (Gary), Lisa D’Abate (Mike), Kenneth C. Madden, III (Michele), Sean Rhodes (Meesh), Tyler Madden, Kyle Rhodes, Mallory Rhodes (Matt) and Sydnee Smith, and seven great grandchildren.

Born in Salem, Virginia on May 19th, 1922, Mabel spent her formative years in Hot Springs, VA where she was a stellar student at Valley High School, graduating in 1939.  Her local claim to fame was once being offered a ride by a golf guy named Sam Snead, and she accepted.  Mabel made her way to Newport News, Virginia in 1941 where she met the love of her life and they were married on April 26, 1942.  Mabel and Ken celebrated 77 years of marriage a little over two weeks ago.  Their undying devotion to each other is a testament to the universality of love which is our bond of humanity.

After Ken returned from his three-year deployment to WWII, Mabel followed him to the campuses of North Carolina, Penn State, and Columbia, and then on to Seaford, Delaware in 1952 with their three little ones (who would eventually become four) to become one of Seaford’s longest-lasting couples from the post-WWII migration. 

After the family had been in Seaford for a time, Mabel started college at what was then Salisbury State College. She graduated in 1960 and became an elementary teacher in Georgetown, then on to Bridgeville prior to teaching in Seaford.  Mabel also completed her Master’s Degree from the University of Delaware in 1961.  An early pioneer of job sharing, Mabel co-taught with the late Carolyn Kelly for several years as they both taught half a day. She also ran a school store as one of her student activities during the year which culminated in a great End-of-Year carnival of skill games which reinforced the year’s learning.   She retired from teaching in June 1982.

After retirement, Mabel enjoyed bowling and walking through her neighborhoods of Beaver Dam Heights and Malihorn Crest.  She was an avid Bridge player and she and Ken spent many a Saturday evening with friends playing Couples Bridge.  Mabel was a member of the Acorn Club of Seaford, and she was past-president of the Faculty Club and the Seaford Ki-Wives.  Ken and Mabel have been active members of St. John’s United Methodist Church in Seaford for the past 67 years.

The family wishes to thank the CNAs and other medical staff at the Manor House who so lovingly took care of our mother during these last few years, and also VITAS who provided intensive compassionate care during hospice.  Your love and devotional caring made this time very comforting for us.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to VITAS, 100 Commerce Drive, Suite 302, Newark, DE, 19713.

A Celebration of Life will be held at St. John’s United Methodist Church, Pine Street, Seaford, Delaware on Saturday, May 18th, 2019 at 11A.M.

To send flowers to MABEL's family, please visit our floral section.


Celebration of Life
May 18, 2019

11:00 AM

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