IN MEMORIAM: Wales H. Madden, Jr. ’52

Wales H Madden ’52, a Senior Life Trustee of the University of Texas Law School Foundation as well as a former President of the Texas Exes and a former U.T. System Regent, passed away on Christmas Eve. He was 91 years old.

Madden was a renowned business and civic leader in his native Amarillo, a place to which he was devoted all his life. He was proud to tell all that he was a product of Amarillo’s public schools. He was also a double Longhorn, receiving his B.A. in 1950 and an L.L.B. (now called a J.D.) in 1952.

It was as an undergraduate in Austin that he met his future wife, Alma “Abbie” Cowden. They were married for almost 60 years, until her death in 2012. He is survived by their children, Wales H. Madden III and his wife Nita, and Straughn “Tawney” Macfarlan and her husband Dean, along with four grandchildren, three step-grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren.

Madden’s extraordinary career as a lawyer led him, among many other accomplishments, to a long association with T. Boone Pickens and friendships with former presidents Lyndon Johnson, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.

Along with family, work, Amarillo, and Texas politics, Madden’s great passion was the University of Texas. From his term as U.T. Austin’s student body president in the early 1950s, to his tenure as one of the U.T. System’s youngest regents in the 1960s, to his recent work with U.T.’s prestigious Harrington Fellows program, Madden’s service to his alma mater was as extensive as his influence was profound.

“Wales Madden believed in education and understood the power of U.T. to improve the lives of all Texans and provide opportunities to students and graduates,” said President Gregory L. Fenves. “He dedicated his life to supporting his city, Amarillo, his state, Texas, and his alma mater, The University of Texas. He was a trusted friend and the UT community will miss him.”

School of Law Dean Ward Farnsworth said: “Wales Madden was a great figure in the life of the University of Texas and its Law School. He served with great distinction as a Trustee of the Law School Foundation and as a Regent. He was a dear friend to us whose memory we will honor always.”

Madden’s consequential life and far-reaching influence were recorded, with customary modesty and wit, in his autobiography, “Climb Every Mountain,” published in 2016.