Tom Skilling bids farewell to beloved dog Maddie

Maddie (Photo: Sean Lewis)

A poignant and heartfelt tribute by Tom Skilling on the passing of his beloved dog Maddie elicited an outpouring of condolences to the famed Chicago meteorologist.

More than 1,000 people wrote in comments of love and support on Facebook Wednesday after Skilling shared his sadness on the loss of  “a member of our family who has brought us such abiding love and affection and whose absence seems insurmountable at this moment in time.”

Tom Skilling

Viewers came to know Maddie during the pandemic when she would appear in many of Skilling’s weather reports from home for Nexstar Media Group WGN-Channel 9, where he’s been chief meteorologist since 1978.

His tribute followed a Facebook post by Sean Lewis, the news anchor who works with Skilling at WGN and also lived with Maddie.

“Baby girl, thank you for giving me your trust, your unending love, and teaching me more about myself,” Lewis wrote. “Your life mattered and gave another layer of love to my life. Rescue dogs will change your life.”

Here is the text of Skilling’s tribute:

This beautiful and, for so many years, loving and vivacious young lady—our beautiful doggie “Maddie”—departed our world Tuesday night. She did so quietly and in her own way, having been an indispensable member of our household for 12 wonderful years. She had dealt with health issues on occasion in recent years but always managed to bounce back. Not Tuesday night.

Maddie, who many of you met when I originated my weather programs from home during the pandemic, leaves a void so huge and so painful, I simply haven’t been able to sit down and put something together to tell you of Maddie’s passing.  I am heartbroken as are my roommates WGN’s Sean Lewis and Trover Wilson. This was a doggie whose zest for life—always on display as she went for her cherished runs in the park—produced a face which beamed with a level of joy and an exuberance for life no words come close to describing.

Sean’s tribute to our little Maddie is so beautiful, I had to share this with you.  Always one whose gift at describing the idiosyncrasies–the ups, downs and wonders of life—Sean–the talented journalist he is— has accomplished something I simply can’t adequately pull off at this very sad moment–paying tribute to a member of our family who has brought us such abiding love and affection and whose absence seems insurmountable at this moment in time.

Here is the text of Lewis’s tribute:

Madison 2008-2021

You could’ve clocked it on an Omega stopwatch, the time it took to fall in love.

A little pink nose sticking through the kennel door at Anti-Cruelty Society in April 2010.

Her name was Sally but she told me it was okay to change it.

We don’t know much about how Madison’s life began—other than it wasn’t the best.

For almost 11 1/2 years, she made up for it.

Running on the beach.

Wading into a glacial pond in Alaska.

Serving as sous chef/cleanup crew in the kitchen at home.

She gave face like she was Rita Hayworth in a previous life.

She gave her opinion like she was in charge of the New York Times Op-Ed page.

And…She gave her heart to me like she had nothing else to give.

Whether she answered to Madison, Maddie, Noodle, The Noods, Noggin, or Maddiebird…she will always be the one who came into my life a tough girl and left with dignity as a tough ol lady.

Baby girl, thank you for giving me your trust, your unending love, and teaching me more about myself. Your life mattered and gave another layer of love to my life. Rescue dogs will change your life.

You are missed.

Wednesday’s comment of the day: Dana Legg: And once again, one of the most storied radio stations in the country gets another slap in the face by its new owners. No sense of history, no sense of the city, no sense of honor.