Charlene Thompson Madera

August 27, 1931 ~ June 22, 2020 (age 88)


Charlene Thompson Madera, aged 88, passed away on June 22, 2020 at her home in Surprise, Arizona with her daughters and granddaughters by her side.


Charlene was born August 27, 1931 to Robert McPherson Thompson and Emma Philomene (Carlier) Thompson of Avella, Pennsylvania. Charlene was an only child, but had a large extended family. She graduated from Bethany College with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and, while an undergraduate, was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.


On July 4, 1954 she married Joseph Madera, also of Avella, Pennsylvania, who preceded her in death in 1999. Together, they bought a small farm in Hickory, Pennsylvania where they raised chinchillas, Christmas trees, and two daughters. During their years in Hickory together, Charlene substitute taught, volunteered in the community, and made traveling with family across the country a priority so that they could create memories that last a lifetime. Many summers were spent camping in their travel trailer at Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, one of her favorite vacation spots.


In 1975, the family moved to Wever, Iowa due to a job related transfer for Joe. During their time in Iowa, they created lifelong friendships and built a house overlooking the Mississippi River where she enjoyed entertaining for those she loved. Impromptu summer pool parties were a favorite. Charlene was also a member of the P.E.O. Sisterhood while in Iowa. In 1979, Joe and Charlene celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary with a trip to Tahiti. They both said that this was the most beautiful destination that they had ever experienced together.


After Joe retired in 1986, they began wintering in Arizona and eventually moved permanently to Sun Village in Surprise, Arizona in 1993. Charlene was a member of Dove of the Desert United Methodist Church. During these retirement years, Charlene’s love for hosting at her home never faded and she always went out of her way to welcome friends and family, both near and far. Charlene had various hobbies, such as baking, card playing, and watching a good cooking show, but what she really enjoyed the most out of anything was a meaningful long conversation with someone she loved. She always held a positive outlook on life with a good joke to follow.


Charlene is survived by her two daughters, Barbara Madera (husband Aaron Clevenson) and Cheryl Madera Barber. Also surviving are her two granddaughters, Lara Anne M. Clevenson and Emma G. Barber, each of whom were an important focus of her life and of which she was incredibly proud.


At a later date, Charlene will be interred with Joe at Mt. Prospect Cemetery in Hickory, Pennsylvania. In lieu of flowers, our family asks that donations be made in her memory to Arizona Humane Society or Hospice of the Valley.


Her memorial website can be viewed at

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Arizona Humane Society
9226 N. 13th Avenue, Phoenix AZ 85021
Tel: 1-602-997-7585

Hospice of the Valley
1510 E Flower Street, Phoenix AZ 85014
Tel: 1-602-530-6992

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