Remembering Local WWII Heroes

By Jerry Taylor, President Sausalito Historical Society

On Armistice Day, November 11, 1943, Sausalito paused to unveil and dedicate a Sausalito Honor Roll, a list of 474 men and women on active duty in the Armed Forces at that date, and the dozen friends and neighbors who had been killed in action.  The Sausalito City Council sponsored the event, with the assistance of the Chamber of Commerce, the Lions Club, the American Legion post from Mill Valley, and the Sea Point Parlors of both the Native Daughters and the Native Sons of the Golden West.  Ernie Smith was Chairman of the Day, Mayor Webb Mahaffy addressed the crowd, and the music was provided by the Hamilton Field Band.  A Past Grand President of the Native Sons made the Dedicatory Address.

Seventy-two years later, the Sausalito Lions Club was seeking a way to honor one of the senior members of the Club, C. D. Madsen, a Lion for over sixty years.   C.D. grew up in Sausalito, an outstanding athlete at Tamalpais High and Student Body President.  He became a contractor, joined the Sausalito Lions, lived many years in Tiburon, and now shoots a lot of golf.

Left to right: Ed Madsen with Sausalito Lions Richard Carnal, Richard Davey, C.D. Madsen.
Photo by Jerry Taylor

Lion Alan Banks came across a contemporary account of the Honor Roll in the Sausalito News, complete with a photograph of the original, including the name Carrol Madsen.  Alan’s inspiration evolved into a recreation of the Honor Roll.  As the Honor Roll became tangible, the Club approached the Sausalito Historical Society, who offered a permanent home for the new plaque in its Marinship Museum at the Bay Model Visitor Center.

Further research uncovered a program from the 1943 Dedication Ceremonies.  So the scope grew. “Let’s not just hang the new Honor Roll, let’s replicate the original event.”

The Sausalito Lions showed the plaque to C.D. on his 98th birthday celebration at a Club meeting April 13th.  The Lions District Governor led the singing of “Happy Birthday.”  Celebrating with C.D. was his cousin Ed Madsen, 90, retired Sausalito postman, known to many as the President of the Sea Point Parlor, Native Sons of the Golden West, and longtime chairman of their ice cream booth at the Sausalito Art Festival.  Ed’s name was on the original, and is on the new version of the Honor Roll, alphabetically just below his cousin’s name.

The new plaque, executed by Dudley DeNador, will be formally unveiled and re-dedicated to those Sausalito Heroes in a ceremony at the Bay Model Visitor Center, at 9:30 AM, Saturday, May 21 2016.  We’ll sort of follow the old script, but the speeches will be much shorter.   Keeping the “flavor” of 1943, coffee and doughnuts will be served.

The public is more than welcome -- your participation is craved. 

Local WWII Veterans are especially invited.  Send a note and let us know if you are planning to attend: Sausalito Historical Society, 420 Litho Street, Sausalito, CA 94965; or email to: or call us at 415 289-4117.  We’d like to place your WWII memories in our records.

See you there!