Buyral Earl Madan was born in Bozeman, Mont., on June 28, 1925 to Carl and Naoma (Tudor) Madan and passed away on May 10, 2015 in Eastsound, Orcas Island, Wash.
Buyral was 14 when his family moved to Orcas Island. He graduated from Orcas High School in 1943 and joined the United States Merchant Marines. While in the Merchant Marines, he was diagnosed with severe hearing loss, which eventually led to complete deafness. He never learned sign language but amazed everyone with his ability to read lips.
Upon his return to Orcas Island in 1945, he married the love of his life, Ellen Marie Bruns. They would have celebrated their 70th anniversary July 14, 2015.
Buyral worked as a logger and then as an electrician as a young man, working at Sunnyshore Electric for close family friend Carl Weber. He donated many hours installing the first runway lights at the Eastsound airport, lighting at the original medical clinic in Eastsound, the Community Church and the Sea View Theatre. In the mid-1950s he joined Orcas Power and Light Company, beginning with installing the numbers on poles for 10 cents per number, and eventually becoming superintendent of the Orcas district upon his father-in-law’s (Eber Bruns) retirement. Buyral retired from OPALCO in 1990.
After a back injury was improved by walking, he not only walked, he took up jogging and completed a 26-mile marathon at age 60. He participated in numerous Masters Track and Field events and earned many medals along the way. He was perhaps most proud of earning a medal in the 300-meter hurdles and the triple jump at the National Meet in Chicago in 1991. Over the years, he ran less and walked more, and waved to everyone during his early morning walks on his three-mile loop.
One of his greatest joys was watching his grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoying his well-tended yard and orchard. Many islanders will remember his tremendous Christmas lighting display, which he began in 1950 at their home on Prune Alley in the location where the Long House now stands and continued when they moved to their home on Terrill Beach Road. Buyral was an extremely devoted husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend and will be greatly missed by all who knew him. He was kind, strong but gentle, reliable and committed to his family and many friends.
He will be greatly missed. Buyral was preceded in death by his parents and four siblings, Melvin (Debby); Helen Mahoney (Paul); Rolley (Phyllis); and Shirley Eagen (Gene). He is survived by his wife of nearly 70 years, their children Richard (Judi); Sandra Clark; and Barry (Bev), all of Orcas Island, 10 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, two great-great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service is planned for May 31 in their backyard from 1 to 4 p.m.