While Charles L. Madden was still in elementary school, his mother often took him from their Kensington home to Saturday-morning classes at the former Philadelphia College of Art at Broad and Pine Streets.
By the time he was in eighth grade, he was drawing occasional guest cartoons for the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, mentored by Bil Keane, the artist known for the nationally syndicated Family Circus.
The art education that formed him resulted in Madden works ranging from stained-glass windows at Gwynedd Mercy College to a statue of St. Peter in Galilee.
Mr. Madden, 78, of Maple Glen, Montgomery County, a founder of four commercial art firms in the Philadelphia region, died of respiratory failure Monday, May 7, at Abington Memorial Hospital.
For artistic inspiration, "his mind would go from one thing to another," Mr. Madden’s wife, Mary Teresa, said in a phone interview.
"At one moment, it was to be a sculptor. Then he would make something appear that had nothing to do with sculpture.
“Painting or glass, it went all over the place. Because everything is art."
Though his artworks gave Mr. Madden an international presence, his work was visible closer to home.
In September 1989, he completed his 20-month restoration of Robert Indiana’s one-ton LOVE sculpture, which was returned to where it now stands, diagonally across the intersection of 15th Street and JFK Boulevard from Philadelphia City Hall.
Mr. Madden could work smaller.
Earlier in 1989, he made a silver-and-gold chalice for Pope John Paul II to use during the beatification ceremony for Frances Siedliska, founder of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth religious community.
Other works had religious motifs, too.
For the 41st International Eucharistic Congress of the Roman Catholic Church in Philadelphia in 1976, a newspaper report stated that he designed the robes the cardinals wore.
"I guess he felt drawn" to religious artworks all his life, his wife said.
"He had a very deep religious faith" as a Roman Catholic, she said, and he earned several commissions from the Franciscan religious order.
But his commercial work was prominent, too.
A 1983 Inquirer story reported that he had designed two tapestries for the DuPont Co. that were woven in Aubusson, France.
And a 1993 Inquirer story said he had shipped a 48-foot sculpture, The Faces of Liberty, to a U.S. State Department facility in Chengdu, China.
Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Madden graduated from Mastbaum High School, where he was valedictorian at his graduation in 1952. With a full scholarship, his wife said, Mr. Madden earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from what is now the University of the Arts in 1956 and served in the Navy as a pay clerk until 1959.
He cofounded the design and advertising firm Madden, Baron & Baron and founded the Contemporary Stained Glass Corp., Urban Arts, and Architectural Features L.L.C.
Appointed to the Philadelphia Art Commission by Mayor James H.J. Tate in the 1960s, he served until 1988.
In addition to his wife of 55 years, Mr. Madden is survived by sons Charles L. and Christopher; daughter Teresa Moran; and seven grandchildren. His son Michael died in 1981. Services took place earlier in May.