In Loving Memory of Bobby
Robert Howard Madsen, 69, was called home to God Dec. 1, 2023, at 4:54 a.m. after a multi-year battle with cancer. A brilliant performer, composer and a loving son, brother and uncle, Robert was a devoted follower of Jesus Christ and was faithful unto the end. Bobby was beloved by all who knew him, especially his family.
He is survived by his sister, Mary Ellen Robson (and brother-in-law, Jim), his older brother, Jared Madsen (and sister-in-law, Kathy), and his younger brother Richard Madsen, as well as dozens of adoring nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. His love, warmth, compassion and sense of humor made him a trusted confidant, first choice for a concert date, and best friend to each of us.
Robert was born Nov. 4, 1954, in Mesa, Arizona, the second son and third child of Russell and Marjorie Madsen. From a young age, Robert was blessed with great musical talent and phenomenal charisma. He attended Westwood High School and graduated in the Gold Medal Class of ’72, where he was a member of Elizabeth White’s Honor Choir and was “Buck” in the comedy singing group the Light Crust Dough Boys. He also started his own band, the 4 Alarm Fire, with Kevin Horne, Delwyn Ray and Wayne Salstrom. Later, he joined his brother-in-law’s band, the Family Waye, which included his sister, Mary Ellen Robson, Jim’s sisters, Loretta, Denna, and Roseanne, and several other members throughout the years.
Robert had perfect pitch. He sang and played the guitar, piano, and a little trumpet. He was a natural performer, which served him well as he traveled the country as part of the Family Waye band. After graduating high school and having a year of playing music on the road, Robert embarked on one of the great adventures of his life, a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a missionary to the Lima Peru Mission. On his mission he served and taught others about Jesus Christ, and he also learned Spanish, a language that he would speak and perform in throughout his life.
Robert spent a couple of semesters as a student at Brigham Young University. Then he embarked on a solo career of writing, recording and producing music in English, Spanish, and even Portuguese. Robert was a gifted songwriter who worked in many genres, including the rap song “I got Rich,” which features some of the greatest lyrics of all time: Money, money can’t buy happiness/But I think she wants to share my misery. His stage name, Bobby Sol, could not have been more fitting – Sol is the Spanish word for sun – because he brought sunshine to the lives of all who knew him. Robert wrote most of the music for the Gilbert Temple Celebration, and contributed to the writing of its script with Roseanne Tidwell, Jason Barney, and his brother Richard Madsen.
He sacrificed much for his parents and for the whole family. Robert was a dutiful and loving son who cared for his aged parents (Russ and Marge) for well over 20 years, helping them live to be 101 and 102 respectively. Robert was extremely close to his parents and his siblings. Robert’s devotion and kindness to family and others was like having daily sermons on the meaning of true, Christlike love. Robert showed us how to handle even life’s hardest challenges with grace and humor. Robert was really funny and clever. He often had others laughing until tears would appear. He performed for a few of his high school reunions and had the crowd howling with laughter.
Robert’s sense of style was ahead of its time, and he introduced many of his nieces and nephews to the glory of track pants and Adidas tennis shoes. Although a few nephews tried, no one could make a white sequined Elvis jumpsuit look as good as he did. While we will all honor his legacy in matters of style, we strive to follow him in matters of substance and in longsuffering. Robert contracted Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) at age 25, which caused him much physical and mental suffering until he died of cancer at age 69. He was an example of a pure heart. He patiently endured his sufferings while still keeping his faith and kindness. He was a shining product of the Refiner’s Fire.
A viewing to honor and remember Robert will be Saturday, Dec. 16, at 10:30 a.m., followed by a funeral service at 11:30 a.m. at 925 N. Harris Dr., Mesa, Arizona.
Arrangements by Bunker’s University Chapel, www.bunkerfuneral.com. Should this obituary appear anywhere but bunkerfuneral.com, please check our website for accurate details and service information.