Fr. Bob Madden was born in Detroit, MI, the son of Patrick Madden and Mary Agnes McKnight on June 18, 1928. He met the Basilian Community at Catholic Central High School. He followed his brother the late Fr. John Madden C.S.B. to St. Michael’s as a student in 1940,and was professed in the Congregation of St. Basil in 1947. He received his undergraduate degree ('52) , his Master's degree ('55) in English at the University of St. Michael's College and e was granted his Ph.D. in English from the University of London, England ('63). After Ordination (1955) he was a professor of English in Windsor, ON (Assumption University), Vancouver, BC (St. Mark's College) and for most of his life in Toronto, ON (University of St. Michael's College), where he also served as Chaplain at the Newman Centre (University of Toronto). In the Congregation, he served for years in the Formation Program and was Superior/Rector of St. Basil's College for six years.
The years that Fr. Bob Madden spent in the classroom were some of the happiest of his life. He was a beloved teacher and very popular, the students on campus nicknamed him the “Pied Piper”. His joy of teaching stemmed from his belief that teaching was the art of sharing knowledge, and that he had as much to learn from his students as they did from him. In a 1999 interview he said “I wanted to create an atmosphere in the classroom where the students would know they were respected. As I would tell them and this would be true, that many of them were more intellectually gifted than I was, but at that particular moment in our relationship I knew more than they did.”
After leaving formal teaching, Fr. Madden devoted the rest of his life to serving the University of St. Michael's College as the Director of Alumni Affairs and then as the Director Emeritus. His daily trips into the office extended into his 80’s and when he was no longer able to climb the stairs the office went to him. In the days before his hospitalization, he was busy at the computer answering alumni mail, writing the Bulletin and giving wise counsel to his many followers.
He was devoted to his sister Patricia Syring and her children, Patrick, Joseph, Julia, John, Mary and Paul. His trips home to visit were a source of great joy to him and he loved nothing better than to share stories of his wonderful family. He is predeceased by his parents, his brother, Fr. John Madden C.S.B. and his brother-in-law, William Syring.
There will be visitation on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 from 2:00 p.m. with a Wake Service at 7:30 p.m. in the Chapel of the Cardinal Flahiff Centre, 95 St. Joseph St., Toronto. The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Basil's Church, 50 St. Joseph St., the following day, February 20th at 10 a.m. Burial will be in the Basilian plot at Holy Cross Cemetery, Thornhill, ON
The University of St. Michael’s College will accept donations to the Father Robert J. Madden Scholarship Fund which was established in celebration of his eightieth year, to support students in need at St. Michaels.