Alice Madden started as a nurse’s aide at Methodist Dallas Medical Center on July 11, 1971.

She retired Friday, exactly 48 years later, as the lead surgical tech for cardiac surgery.

Madden is beloved by employees and patients alike.

The 69-year-old was often the first person a patient would see then they were wheeled into an operating room here.  She’s known to pray and even sing with patients to help relax them in what can be a frightening setting.  It’s not uncommon for a patient to wake up after surgery and ask ‘Where’s Alice?’

“Alice is one of the most positive, optimistic forces of nature I have worked with in my entire career,” Methodist Health Systems president and CEO Stephen Mansfield says. “With a million-dollar smile, her impact on people here is the thing of legends. I feel so blessed to have had her as a key employee at Methodist.”

Madden was born in Louisiana and grew up picking cotton for $2 a day. Surgeons at Methodist helped pay her way through college.

She says learning to sleep late will be her first challenge in retirement.

“I automatically get up at 4 a.m.,” she says.   “I don’t even own an alarm clock.”