Harold Madson, former owner and president of Border States Electric in Fargo, North Dakota, died February 7th at the age of 93 in Petaluma, California, where he had lived for two years. He was husband of 73 years to Dorothy Madson and father of Paul, Jeannie, Susy and Jane, grandfather to 10 and great-grandfather to 10.
In 1958, Madson joined J.O. Stolee of Grand Forks and J.L. Thompson of Fargo as a partner of Thompson Stolee Company, which later became Border States Electric Supply Company. In 1961, the family moved to Fargo where Madson became President of the company, and retired in 1985 as Chairman of the Board. At the time of his retirement, the company had grown to eight branches in a tri-state area and has since grown to some 80 locations in the central and western regions of the U.S.
Madson grew up in Fargo and graduated from Fargo Central High School in 1941. After that, he worked in Los Angeles in the aircraft industry for Lockheed and Boeing aircraft companies. He joined the U.S. Army Air Force in January of 1943 and earned a commission as Second Lieutenant and a pilot qualified for single and multi-engine aircraft. He spent the balance of his active duty flying bombardier-training missions, flying cargo gliders and towing gliders on training missions in the Texas and Missouri area.
After the end of World War II and discharge from the U.S. Army Air Force, Madson attended North Dakota State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering. Following graduation, he worked for Westinghouse Company for 10 years in the Minot, N.D. area before Thompson Stolee Company.
Madson and Dorothy spent nearly 30 winters in Sedona, Arizona, a place they dearly loved.
Upon retirement in 1985, Madson became a farmer. He farmed his ancestral land in the Halstad and Ada area of Minnesota with the Tim Anderson family. They sold out this operation and retired “for sure.”
Madson was married to the former Dorothy Peterson of Fargo and they recently celebrated 73 years of marriage. He leaves Dorothy, son, Paul (Sharon), daughters Susan Westerholm of Omaha and Jane McDonald of Petaluma, California. A daughter, Jeannie preceded Madson in death. Madson also leaves 10 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren (one on the way) and brother Glenn of Naples, Florida. He was preceded in death by brothers Wesley, William, John, and sister Margaret.
Here is a link to the obituary.
Border States Electric Supply did provide the following news release on Harold Madson’s passing:
FARGO, N.D. – Harold Madson, former owner and president of Border States Electric (BSE), died February 7 at the age of 93.
In 1958, Madson joined J.O. Stolee of Grand Forks and J.L. Thompson of Fargo as a partner of Thompson-Stolee Company, which later became Border States Electric (BSE). The three men set the framework and culture of the early company, which included profit sharing with employees. After the company’s first acquisition, Northwest Electric Supply in 1961, Madson was named president. The company grew to eight locations in North Dakota and Minnesota before Madson retired in 1985.
When Madson retired, he sold his stock, representing more than 50 percent ownership interest in the company, to the newly formed employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), enabling broad-based employee-ownership at BSE.
“Harold was a remarkable man with great passion for customer service. He was also very generous with employees and the community. We cannot thank Harold enough for his belief in the Border States employees and the ESOP model of ownership. I am honored that we can all continue to build on his legacy at Border States,” said Tammy Miller, CEO.
BSE supplies products and services to construction, industrial and utility customers. The 100 percent employee-owned company is the eighth largest electrical distributor in the U.S. as ranked by Electrical Wholesaling magazine. BSE has approximately 1,900 employees and 81 branches in 16 states. Corporate headquarters are located in Fargo, N.D.
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