Laura Anne Madsen

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.



  • Judy and David Lorenz Posted August 13, 2020 6:33 am

    We are the recently acquired in-laws of Laura’s cousin Jeremy. We’re thankful for this tribute which has allowed us to learn about Laura and see what a special person she was. Our condolences to the entire family as you grieve the loss of Laura. May her spirit fill you with peace at this time and always.

  • Diana Wulf Posted August 13, 2020 7:03 am

    Forever in our hearts … Laura
    Thank You for showing us all how to Love Each Other Unconditionally, with Kindness.
    REJOICE ….DANCE …. SING …. Dear Angel, Freedom is Yours now
    Never Forgotten … Rest In Power …Until We Meet Again…..

  • Lori Quakenbush Posted August 13, 2020 7:31 am

    I was so sorry to hear of Laura’s passing. Every time I was with laura, she was a ray of sunshine. She will be missed.

  • Del and Ingrid Stites Posted August 13, 2020 10:14 am

    Dear Paul and Lisa:

    Please know that Ingrid and I and the whole Scandinavian Midsummer Festival Committee are thinking of you. Thank you for sharing Laura’s story with us. Please take special care of yourselves.

  • John and Vi Collins Posted August 13, 2020 12:24 pm

    Would like to offer condolences to the family of Laura. We’re so sorry that she passed away. She’s such an angel, so beautiful, so young and we’ll miss her. May she Rest In Peace! Amen

  • Monte and Michelle Monteleagre Posted August 13, 2020 7:03 pm

    We are so thankful for the times we shared with Laura throwing axes, swapping gifts at the Christmas party and watching our sons play being performed at Millard west. God bless you Laura and your wonderful partner Kevin.

  • Lisa Meyer Posted August 14, 2020 10:28 am

    Paul and Lisa, Andrew Harris and I were youth league sponsors with you many years ago at Lord of Love. I am so sorry to hear of Laura’s passing. It sounds like she had an amazing life even if it was too short. My condolences to you and all who loved her.

  • Patti Hovdenes Posted August 14, 2020 12:04 pm

    Paul, Lisa, Dane, Jake and Kevin, what a beautiful tribute and description of Laura!! She was everything you described and more…she shined from the inside out and spread her joy to everyone around her. She was such a blessing and a gift, and I am grateful to have received the joy and love that she so willingly gave to others. I am praying for all of you and your family and friends, that you will receive comfort, shared memories, love and joy today and in days ahead. Love you all.

  • Samantha peterson Posted August 15, 2020 4:21 am

    Laura and I were friends since middle school. She was always so full of life and always a listening ear. Her family was like my own. Though we didn’t talk as much now I would always miss her. The earth has lost a bit of light but her memory will always shine on.

  • Wayne Hanson Posted August 15, 2020 12:31 pm

    We are cousins of your Grandparents Verlan and Helga Hanson. Though we did not know Laura very well
    we knew everyone was very proud of her and her faith. Wayne and Joan

  • Laurie Jessen Posted August 15, 2020 1:53 pm

    Thank you for sharing this lovely service. With such joy of live she will be sorely missed.
    Leslie and Berni send their thoughts and prayers to all that love Laura.

  • Maria Michaelis Posted August 15, 2020 2:49 pm

    I’m sorry to hear of Laura’s passing from this world. Prayers and love to your family. ❤️❤️

  • Gabriel Dameon Lightangel Posted August 30, 2020 10:43 pm

    laura was one of the last real light worker angels left on earth .She saved many lives with her light and love in the world .She dedicated all her time to love and healing others .I meet laura at community alliance back in 2008 and she had been badly abused by a person she loved and even in all her own pain with depression she was more worried about why Iwas in pain and went above and beyond to help others learn to cope with mental health issues .After meeting her i could never get enough time with this woman. and even when her own health started to fade she always wanted to be sure others where ok. laura tought me about selflessness .she will for ever hold a spot in my heart and the world will never be as bright now that shes gone .she was honestly gods best healer worrior friend lover and angel on earth. I was proud to call her my angel sister .

  • Craig Harding Posted February 15, 2021 3:10 pm

    It hurts me to hear this news. It has been many years since I saw Laura but Caitlin had spoke with her last summer. My condolences to family and friends.

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