Kodiak courthouse renamed for retired judge

KODIAK, Alaska — The courthouse in Kodiak will be renamed in honor of a retired Superior Court judge.

The courthouse was to be dedicated as the Roy H. Madsen Justice Center during a Friday evening ceremony.

“I’m honored, really. I just can’t express it in words, I guess. It’s hard to believe,” Madsen told KMXT.

He said it also came as a surprise and only learned about it when current Kodiak Superior Court Judge Steve Cole called to tell him it was a done deal.

The center’s naming comes 66 years after Madsen graduated from law school. He returned to Kodiak after serving in the Navy.

“I had been in the guiding business with my father — bear guiding. And I fished up in Bristol Bay in the summertime, and in the winters I worked as a clerk in the men’s department of O. Kraft and Son, and just out of boredom, I started taking a correspondence course in law through LaSalle University in Chicago,” Madsen said.

He served 22 years as an attorney and prosecutor, then 15 years as a Superior Court judge.

Cole said it’s remarkable that the Alaska Supreme Court agreed to the name change, but he suspects having another former Kodiak judge, Joel Bolger, on the high court didn’t hurt.

“Most courthouses are named only after Supreme Court Justices, and only after they’ve passed on,” Cole said.

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