In Memory

Malcolm Weikel - Class Of 1961

Malcolm Weikel

Malcolm Weikel

December 17, 1943 - October 16, 2014






Malcolm in Yosemite in the late 50s or early 60s with Yosemite-half dome in the background. Malcolm was crazy and certainly followed his own drummer. A good friend and good memories. This was a trip with Al Kinser, Rich Lincoln, and Malcolm. Cannot remember who else. May have included Felix Guttierez as well. Malcolm was bigger than life. Cannot believe he is gone.

Stu Fraser '61



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10/28/14 09:51 AM #1    

James Tomlin (1961)

Very sad to lose touch with Malcolm after HS, but always fun to catch up with his wild and crazy antics when our paths crossed. Like eluding the security forces of Disneyland by dropping off a 20 foot wall, and then getting caught when he checked into their first aid site to treat his sprained ankle. I believe he can be credited with the possible saving of a 61 classmate life by using his position of clerk to send him to Germany when everyone else in his company went to Viet Nam.

He used to show up at our house around lunch and my aunt never failed to feed him even after she banished him for entering the pool from the roof. You just had to love the guy.

10/28/14 11:10 AM #2    

James Tomlin (1961)

The Egyptians believe that when you arrive in heaven you have to answer two questions -
  1. Did you find joy in your life?
  2. Did you bring joy into the lives of others?
Life shouldn’t be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and hollering; “What a ride.”
Malcolm certainly grasped the gist of the truth in each of these quotes.
The “Magic of Malcolm” began for me at Oneonta in 3rd grade, or thereabouts, and never really stopped. Malcolm was less intimidated by life than anyone I’ve ever known. He never allowed convention to box him in. None of us, as I’m sure most of us are well aware, are just one thing. Grins were, unquestionably, Malcolm’s stock-in-trade, but folks sometimes forget that he was also smart, athletic, and when called for, charming.
Malcolm was always looking for a smile, for everyone involved, and he never, to quote the Lone Ranger, was ready to deliver a concluding, “Hi yo Silver,” until someone was gasping for air from something he’d said or done. The last time I saw him we ate dinner together at a sports bar in his neighborhood, and yes, once again, I was inches from needing resuscitation as we reminisced about how our lives had played out.
Although I regret never having seen him again I knew he was out there, and somehow that was enough. Certainly I’ll miss him but his gusto for life will continue to remind me that time not spent grinning is time wasted.
Thanks, Malcolm!
Dave Moore, 61

10/28/14 02:37 PM #3    

JoAnn Tartaro (Robertson) (1961)

So shocked to hear that Malcolm has passed.  I was really looking forward to sitting with him once again as we did at our 50th reunion, me with a lemon drop martini and he with a few beers.  At the 50th we laughed about how he would often come to my home so we could run races against each other in the parking area of my family's apartment.  He was FAST, real fast, however........ I'm pretty sure I beat him a time or two as he kept coming back. What innocent fun we had.  Good memories will last a lifetime.

My sympathies go out to his family and loved ones. 

JoAnn Tartaro Robertson


10/28/14 03:39 PM #4    

Jeanne Vallereux (Lee) (1961)

The main thing I remember about Malcolm is that he was in love with life and lived it to the fullest. He always had a warm smile. R.I.P. Malcolm.

Jeanne Vallereux Lee

10/29/14 11:53 AM #5    

Rob Feder (1961)

It would not be fair to Malcolm to not share a small piece of the other side of Mal.

Most of us have a crazy story to tell about doing something with him that we are lucky to still be alive to share it.  Going out for a beer could easily turn out to be a brush with a felony or worse. 

As Malcolm got older (post sixty), he became more serious about his future, or lack there of.  His experiences are legendary, but I always felt like he regretted not having a more normal life, even having kids… if you can imagine Mal as a soccer dad.

The last time I spoke with him, he said that he believed that his judgment  had always been affected by being bi-polar.  And that drove him to do a lot of the crazy things he did.

You hear stories about famous comedians growing up sad.  They could make other people laugh, but did not feel that happiness themselves.  I think Malcolm was a lot like that.  When Al Kinser called to say that Malcolm had just died, I immediately thought of Robin Williams... that he could make everyone laugh, but did not feel it himself.

As funny and entertaining as Malcolm's escapades were, there was a side of Malcolm that felt a lot of pain inside.  I hope he left this earth happy and satisfied with the mark he made.  But I'm saddened with some of the pain that I know he experienced.

We should all remember him with fond (and terrifying) memories, but I wanted to share a deeper more serious side of him.  Isn’t it amazing how reflective all of us get as we grow older?  Rob(bie) Feder

12/15/14 03:37 PM #6    

James Tomlin (1961)

I was sorry to miss Malcolm's funeral, but my daughter was getting married. Dave Moore forwarded this to me, Jay Lord's thoughts on Malcolm.


In Memory of Malcolm Weikel (1943-2014)
My friend Malcolm Weikel – a lifelong friend. We met in the summer before third grade; we were 8 years old. It must have been 1951.
His family had recently moved from Texas by way of Crenshaw to South Pasadena. I had just moved to South Pasadena myself. Mal walked into the barber shop where I was getting my hair cut. When I was done, I waited for him to finish, and we left together.
We spent countless hours together growing up. During grammar school, after class was out, we would make a stop at my place. Mal would go right for the cookies and consume the whole package. He’d then go to the refrigerator, drink down the milk and put the empty carton back. Even then, he had a voracious appetite. It wasn’t until many years into adulthood that he started putting on weight.
South Pasadena was a good place to grow up. Unlike the kids today with their computers and video games, we were rarely indoors. We’d ride bikes everywhere, play touch football, run for hours in the hills. We’d sneak into the YMCA in Pasadena, sneak into movies. We ran with a lot of different kids -- Malcolm was never into cliques.
Mal liked to play sports and was a natural athlete. He was fast, and he picked up skills easily. He liked baseball: he could hit, field, throw. He had good hands for football. He could have excelled at tennis if he’d taken it seriously. But practicing and honing skills was not how Malcolm wanted to spend his time. He played high-school sports, but the coaches considered him unmanageable.
Turning sixteen meant driver’s licenses, cars and greater mobility. Mal managed to total three cars before he was out of high school. In one case I remember clearly, he ran his car, a 57 Ford, partly off someone’s driveway that cut across a steep grade. The only obvious way to get it down was to roll the car over sideways down the hill. It landed on its wheels, but the roof, both sides, and the windows were bashed in. Then he drove it away.
Midway through our senior year, I was expelled from South Pasadena High School, and I ended up going to Monrovia High School, a few towns away. A few weeks later, Malcolm showed up there too, and we finish high school together. But our roots were in South Pasadena.
Malcolm graduated from LA State College with a degree in history. He worked for an insurance company for a brief time – probably the only traditional job he ever held. He served in the Air Force during the Vietnam era. He was in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. Later, he was in the Army stationed in Panama. At some point, he acquired a California teaching credential. He taught high school level courses on Navy ships over many years. Eventually he settled in Rancho Bernardo and met his life partner Molly.
It still seems bizarre that Malcolm served in the military – let alone in all three branches counting his time as a civilian teacher on Navy ships. He did not take naturally to structure and supervision. It was not a good fit. But somehow he managed to have the situation work for him. What I know of Malcolm’s military experiences is from the stories he told, and he had some hilarious stories.
While he was in the Peace Corps, I actually visited Mal in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. At the time, about 40 years ago, it seemed like a small town. I don’t remember what his official job was, but he organized a youth basketball league which he coached and supervised. The kids obviously liked him. His Spanish was quite fluent by then, and his humor and storytelling translated well. He seemed to know everyone in town -- he could have been the mayor. He was virtually unsupervised, and life was good for him. But the Peace Corps salary constrained his ability to fully indulge his appetites. He didn’t care much for the local specialty called gallo-pinto – basically black beans and rice. He preferred plates of shrimp at the Cayuga Hotel, which probably cost as much as a month of gallo-pinto. Because of this and other extravagances he was always pressed for money.
Around 1966, when Malcolm had just finished college and I was soon to go into the Peace Corps in Africa, we decide to take a trip to Mexico. We hitchhike to San Bernardino and catch a freight train to Yuma. All the box cars are locked so we end up in this open car with sides about 4 feet high. The car’s empty and we’re
sheltered from the direct wind, but the wind kicks up the soot and it’s hard to breath and it’s bitter cold. It’s too noisy to talk and we’re huddling at the front of the car glaring at each other thinking, “whose idea was this”.
Finally, we arrive in Yuma. It’s still dark and we stumble into an all-night café. There’s a guy there recruiting workers to pick lemons. We don’t have 50 dollars between us so I suggest we give it a go. Malcolm’s answer: “no Weikel ever picked fruit”. This was an ongoing theme with Malcolm. He claimed his father’s side of the family was descended from German aristocracy and had never done manual labor and, quite possibly, had never worked at all. He often called himself “Duke dee Weikel”.
So the Duke and I cross the border into Mexico. We spend several grueling days catching short rides and sleeping wherever we can find shelter. I distinctly remember spending one night in an abandoned and dilapidated bus that had apparently crashed at the side of the road.
We’re tired and we’re filthy. We each carry a shoulder bag not much bigger than a woman’s handbag. Malcolm’s bag is full of toiletries. He has shaving supplies, mouth wash, shampoo and conditioner, after shave lotion, cologne, talcum powder, band aids, body lotion, bubble bath, butch wax. We haven’t been able to use a proper toilet for days, let alone have a place to shower and clean up. And Malcolm is lugging enough stuff to supply a beauty salon.
We’re getting something to eat at a food stand in a small village when Malcolm starts talking to an older guy who speaks perfect English. The guy offers to pay for hotels and meals all the way to Mexico City if we follow him in another car he owns. It sounds too incredible, and I’m against it. But Malcolm’s always ready to roll the dice.
We pick up the other car in a nearby town. The old man drives in front with a young Indian kid, and Mal and I follow in the other car behind. The guy turns out to be as good as his word. It takes over a week to reach Mexico City, but we have decent hotels, showers and good meals every day. And Mal gets to take full
advantage of his arsenal of toiletries. Then in Mexico City the guy mysteriously vanishes.
We hitch a ride to Cuernavaca where we spend a few days at a commune. We join up with an American from Arizona who has a muscle car and is on his way to Acapulco. He rents a room in a big hotel with a swimming pool right on the beach and lets us stay in the room. This is really fortunate because by then we are both suffering from “Montezuma’s Revenge”, meaning we can’t be away from a toilet for more than an hour at a time. After several days, we are wrung out and not getting any better. So how are we going to survive the trip back home?
Malcolm suggests we stow aboard a cruise ship that is in the harbor and heading north that evening. Mal reasons that even if we end up in the brig, they’ll have to feed us. This seems like a really bad idea to me, but we take the shuttle boat out to the ship and make it on board. Of course, we’re as conspicuous as rag pickers at a presidential ball. We’re wandering around looking for a toilet when a steward asks us for our cabin number. After less than ten minutes on the ship, we are on the shuttle boat again surrounded by security guards and heading back to shore.
Over the next week or so we recover from our illness and catch a ride back with our Arizona friend. He drives 90 miles-an-hour, and we make it back across the Arizona border in a few days. We hitch home from there.
Every episode with Malcolm was an adventure. I could recount many others, but no one can tell a story like Malcolm.
Malcolm was uninhibited. He was not constrained by the usual social conventions. His spontaneity could be enormously entertaining. It could also be embarrassingly inappropriate.
Recently, when I visited him here in Rancho Bernardo, we were together when I checked into a local chain motel for the night. The desk clerk, probably in his early thirties, was dressed in a suit with a bow tie. The guy gives the usual spiel: “If there is anything we can do … etc., etc.” So Malcolm goes: “What are they paying you here?” The guy is initially taken aback and I’m mortified. I say:
“please excuse my friend and you don’t have to respond to that.” But the guy says: “No it’s alright. It’s basically minimum wage with virtually no benefits. I don’t know from one day to the next what hours I’ll be working, and they make me dress up like a trained monkey.”
I mention this incident because it plays so well into Malcolm’s narrative. He might consider a position if he could start as a bird colonel, but an entry level job didn’t make sense to him. He could do just as well working the system and playing the horses, and it was more fun. To have any chance of achieving true financial independence, he bet on the lottery.
Anyone who was around Malcolm very much might feel inclined to give him advice. Would he take this advice? Of course not! He always called his own shots. He also never blamed anyone else for the consequences.
We each are shaped by accidents of birth and a unique set of experiences. No one fully understands why people believe what they believe or do what they do. When someone dies he takes his own private universe with him.
I believe Malcolm was happy in his life. I know he cared deeply for his partner and best friend Molly. He considered their relationship the best thing that ever happened to him.
His memory will remain vivid because he was a character, an entertainer, a master story teller. He brought color to the world. For me and others, he will be remembered as a true and loyal friend.

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