Laura Anne Madsen
August 26, 1988 – August 9, 2020
Laura Anne Madsen, of Omaha, Nebraska was born on August 26, 1988 and passed away in Omaha at age 31 on August 9, 2020. She left behind many loving family and friends. Immediately upon her birth she needed heart procedures as well as major heart surgery at age 5 months.
She was baptized at Lord of Love Lutheran Church and was a member of Rejoice! Lutheran Church in Omaha where she participated in youth group activities including work camp and bell choir for a short time. Laura was a bit of a performer…always quick with a joke, a smile, or a funny story. She graduated from Millard West High School where she enjoyed playing cello with Mrs. Ritche in orchestra and was also in choir, drama, and forensics activities. She enjoyed traveling to New York City with the choir in her sophomore year and enjoyed being part of the chorus in Millard West’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”
Laura briefly attended Iowa Western Community College and was a lifelong learner taking numerous classes at Metropolitan Community College over the years.
She entered the workforce and worked in teleservices, retail, and daycare before settling into a comfortable vibe at Starbucks Coffee. She worked there for many years and loved the hubbub of activity and chatting it up with “the regulars” at her shops.
In 2014 she connected with her soul mate, Kevin Austin and the two were inseparable. They enjoyed art and music festivals and getting together with a wide variety of friends. One highlight was a trip they took to Colorado where they had front row seats at Red Rocks amphitheater for an amazing outdoor concert looking over Denver from a nearby mountain side. Laura loved the mountains and also enjoyed several Jessen family reunions which were held in the Estes Park area.
In 2016 her heart needed repair again. This led to an amazing, 23-hour long reconstructive heart surgery led by Dr. Jimmy Hammel and his team from Children’s Hospital and UNMC. Following the surgery, she was in ICU on a ventilator for two months. This led to lung complications which required her to be on oxygen tank support 24×7 for the next four years.
After her ICU stay, she spent 3 months at Madonna Rehab hospital in Lincoln, NE in order to rebuild her body. Her recovery was aided by daily visits from Kevin. Not surprisingly, Laura made several friends with other long-term Madonna patients as well as employees there. We always laughed at one of her ventilator devices which she wore which had regular audio beeps that sounded like the 1970 hit song: “In The Summertime When The Weather Is Fine.” Odd, yes, but a family legacy.
While her constant tether to oxygen might be a burden, Laura’s zeal for life still showed through. She was almost always a ray of light for others and prided herself as “helping others to discover their healing.”
All who knew her and her story were impressed with Laura’s big picture view of the universe which is summarized on her Facebook page motto as: “More Than This Body; More Than This Mind.”
To work on her goal to inspire others, she joined the public speaking training organization called Toastmasters. There she’d work on her public speaking skills and earned some accolades with the group. Her focus was to help others deal with THEIR disabilities and healing. She wanted her story to inspire others.
Kevin said that when Laura descended down their apartment steps toward the rescue squad on Sunday that she had no fear about what lied ahead. Laura had a deep sense of spirituality and the universe. And she always appreciated and was grateful for Kevin’s dedication and his years of loving support.
Laura is survived by her grandparents, Verlan and Helga Hanson; her parents, Lisa and Paul Madsen; her younger brothers, Dane and Jake Madsen; aunts and uncles include: Mary Henriksen and Alan Hanson, Duane and Shirley Hanson, Phil and Diane Madsen, Barb (Madsen) and Dave Kreye; loving first cousins: Maren, Kirstie, Jeremy, Ally, Jon and their spouses. She was preceded in death by grandparents, Lester and Elaine Madsen and Coral (Barnish) Madsen, her paternal grandmother.
VISITATION following CDC guidelines: Friday, August 14th from 6pm to 8pm, at the West Center Chapel.
CELEBRATION OF LIFE: Saturday, August 15th, 2pm, West Center Chapel.
Memorial donations in Laura’s name may be directed to Carol Joy Holling Camp or the American Lung Association.