NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

January 11, 2013

Joan Madden


Exeter, N.H. — Joan Lysbeth Clarke Madden, born on June 22, 1922, in Spring Lake, N.J., died peacefully today in Exeter, N.H., surrounded by members of her family and her watercolors of Maine, Paris, Mohegan Island and Exeter.

She was married to Carl H. Madden, PhD of Danville, Va. in Caldwell, N.J. on December 26, 1945 and was the mother of four children, three sons and one daughter. Dr. Madden and her son, John Thomas Madden predeceased her. She is survived by James Morrissett Madden, Martin Clarke Madden and Corey Beth Madden; and six grandchildren. Mrs. Madden was an intrepid hiker, organizer of family camping trips, devotee of Maine lake swimming, Burl Ives folksong singer and loving grandmother. Trained as a science educator and zoologist, Mrs. Madden was Chief of the Office of Education of the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC where she is credited with the development of the Naturalist Center and the Discovery Room, a scientific resource center open to schoolchildren and the general public. Occasionally small mammal specimens were found in the family freezer in Annandale, Va. prior to being taken to the museum to be prepared by the curators for the Discovery Room hands-on collections. A prodigious reader, and lifelong learner, she studied Darwin, and the writings of EO Wilson, as well as many other naturalists. She wrote many articles on museum education, co-authored a history of her beloved Thompson Lake in West Poland, Maine, and wrote several short stories regarding her early life. The family’s genealogist, Mrs. Madden continued the tradition started by her father, the late Charles Walter Clarke, MD, of carefully documenting her life and times in two short books, and passing this treasured knowledge along to each family member. She traveled extensively, completing a ‘round the world trip over the course of a month in 1980.

She was a patient, steady, positive and energetic friend to many. She received a degree in Zoology from Michigan and was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, and she received a Masters in Education from the University of Virginia. Mrs. Madden resided in Exeter after retiring from the Smithsonian, and was a leader in the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Exeter, at Riverwoods, as well as serving as President of the Thompson Lake Environmental Association.

ARRANGEMENTS: In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution in memory of Joan Madden to the Riverwoods Employee Appreciation Fund, attention Dawn Barker,7 Riverwoods Drive, Exeter, NH 03833. A memorial service will be held at Riverwoods on Friday, January 11 at 2 p.m.