Father Anthony L. Madison, MM
Born: November 22, 1914
Ordained: June 22, 1941
Died: June 30, 1987
Anthony Leonard Madison was born in Syracuse, New York on November 22, 1914, the oldest son of George and Mary Leonard Madison. He had three brothers and two sisters. Father Anthony died in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Syracuse, at the age of 73 on June 30, 1987.
His early schooling was at St. Vincent de Paul Grade School and Holy Rosary High. In those schools the seed of his missionary vocation was planted. While reflecting on what led him into Maryknoll he wrote: “The way of the foreign missioner to me seemed hardest then but with the book ‘The Maryknoll Movement’ floating around the school library, the ‘Field Afar’ to be found in our home, and a few friends already in Maryknoll’s ranks, it was not surprising that I entered.”
Anthony entered the Venard in 1932 and took his First Oath at Bedford, Massachusetts on August 31, 1937. Because of his height – 6 feet, 4 inches – and his long reach, he gained the affectionate nickname of “Tarzan” which stayed with him among Maryknollers all his life. He was an intelligent student, well read, an above average writer, and public speaker. Young Father Madison was ordained at Maryknoll on June 22, 1941.
He was first assigned in 1941 to the Kaying Vicariate. He arrived in Hong Kong with his classmates in December of that year, the 8th, the day the Japanese Imperial forces invaded the city. Father Madison was manacled together with two classmates, Frs. Wenceslaus Knotek and John Tackney, held for three days in a garage on meager rations, and then interned in the Stanley Internment Camp with other priests and religious until August, 1942. They were then released into a French enclave and the Paris Foreign Mission Society Retirement Home. From there the Kaying Maryknollers made their way up country to their mission, arriving around Christmas. While in the Internment Camp Fr. Madison studied the Hakka language and organized a lot of sports activities.
After arriving in Kaying, Father Madison became an assistant to Fr. James O’Donnell until he went home on furlough in mid-1943. He then served as pastor of the Kaying Mission until he was recalled to the States in January of 1945.
In April, 1945 Father Madison was assigned to the Venard where he taught History and English. He was a good teacher, well liked, performed his priestly duties well and tried to adapt himself to his assignment. In 1947, he stopped teaching due to health concerns.
Throughout his life Fr. Anthony remained a Maryknoll priest. He was assigned to the Special Society Unit in 1977. He did what he was able to do to the best of his ability. Friends say that he never lost his sense of courtesy, his interest in good literature, or his love for Maryknoll. All Maryknollers who visited him at one place or another mentioned how he welcomed them. While he may not have shown many outward signs of faith, there is little doubt that he accepted the cross the Lord placed upon him and did his best. Now he rests in the peace of the Lord.
Wake service was held on July 2nd at the Maurer Funeral Home, 300 2nd St., Liverpool, and the funeral Mass at Loretta Geriatics Center, 750 E. Brighton Ave., Syracuse, New York 13210.