American Veteran 04

Richard L. Malafa

January 25, 1921 ~ March 19, 2021 (age 100)


Richard L Malafa, 100, passed away peacefully on March 19, 2021 at home. He was the oldest of four siblings, born on January 25, 1921 to parents Mildred Hart and Jerome Malafa, in Cleveland, Ohio. Richard was married to Emily Witkowski for 59 years and lived in Cleveland, Ohio, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Pittsburgh, PA before retiring to Arizona in 1989.  Richard will be remembered for his generosity, his sense of humor, and his appreciation of books, his love of “learning something new” (especially how things work), and how much he enjoyed traveling.

From 1938 to 1941 he worked at Monarch Aluminum Mfg. as Electrician helper and Electrician, and at the Cleveland Illuminating Company as an Apprentice Sub-Station Operator and Sub-Station Operator. From 1942 – 1945 Richard spent 3 years in the Navy during WW2 as an Electrician 3rd Class to 1st Class on the Minesweeper YM 565 in the Atlantic, Pacific, Borneo; stationed and deployed out of Key West, Florida. After the war, Richard enrolled in Fenn College, now known as Ohio State, and received his Degree in Electrical Engineering while working at the same time at Cleveland Illuminating Company. Beginning in 1957, Richard worked at Westinghouse Electric Company as an engineer. He served as a District Consulting and Application Engineer in Indianapolis, and in Pittsburgh’s Headquarters Construction Division as Manager of Electrical Construction. He retired in 1989 and moved to Arizona with his wife Emily. He was a member of the Sun City West Properties Committee for 22 years, where he was honored with a Certificate of Recognition by the Sun City West Governing Board for his achievements in reducing golf course electrical costs. Richard was a member of the Hillcrest Dance Club from 1989 until 2014, as well as the Pennsylvania club. He was pre-deceased by his wife Emily in 2002, his parents, and in the past 15 months, his sisters Evelyn and Phyllis. He is survived by, and will be deeply missed by his daughter, Debbra Buerkle, her husband, John Buerkle, his brother Robert Malafa, sister-in-law Sharon Malafa, and brother-in-law Al Manoni. Richard is also survived by his grandchildren Brandon, Brie, and Brad Buerkle, 3 great grandchildren, and his special friend and companion for the past 18 years, Martha Maier, of Sun City West, AZ. In lieu of flowers, donations to a local library in his memory, or to the Alzheimer's Association would be appreciated.

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