“He could turn a Republican into a Democrat. He was very charming. The man was so charming.”
That’s how Father Bob Caudill described Dale Madison. Madison, 64, died on June 17. But Caudill, who had known Madison since the early 90s and “anointed” him in his hospital room shortly before his death, said he would never argue politics with other people. “He was so diplomatic. He would never argue. Just the nicest person.”
Throughout his time in Wilton Manors, Madison took on several roles. Business owner of “Oh, What A Basket,” a gourmet gift basket shop, writer of the “Pinkies Up” column in the former “Scoop Magazine,” one of the organizers of the first Stonewall festival in the city, and fundraiser for the Poverello Center.
Madison’s death was a shock to Brad Casey, former publisher of “Scoop Magazine.” Casey found out about Madison’s illness and death through Facebook.
Casey met Madison in the early 90s when his publishing office was next to Madison’s business on Wilton Drive. “He was a very sociable-type person. Very likeable.” So, in 1993, Casey gave Madison a column in his magazine and named it “Pinkies Up” after the tendency of some people to stick their pinky fingers out when holding a cocktail. “Pinkies Up” ran from 1993 to 2001.
“It was a social column about different parties [held in the area]. It became very, very popular. He was a good writer. He was very funny,” Casey said. “He was good with people. He became so popular they started asking him to host different benefits and get involved in the community. His stage presence was really good. He must have emceed hundreds of different benefits, my goodness. Sometimes two and three a week.”
Madison’s column also eventually led to his involvement in organizing the beginnings of Stonewall in Wilton Manors. “He was very outgoing and very involved in the community. His passing is quite a loss to this community,” Casey said.
News of Madison’s death was heavily prevalent on social media as friends posted tributes to him, several of which included photos of cocktails enjoyed in his honor. “This one's for you Dale. Xo Forever in our hearts. – celebrating your life,” wrote Dave Griff. “Dale Madison this one is for you my friend! All the way from Key West. You will be missed my dear friend! Cheers,” wrote Ryan Jackson.
On the day of Madison’s death, Terry DeCarlo wrote that “heaven has gained another Angel today! RIP Dale Madison....Today we will keep our ‘Pinkies Up in your honor!”
Visitation services will be held Saturday, June 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pride Center in Wilton Manors. The memorial service, which will be officiated by Caudill, will begin at 11:30 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to All Saints Soup Kitchen in Oakland Park. Call 754-205-4640 for more information.