Capt. Don's Retirement

Capt. Don's Retirement

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

My Niece Aleksandra Mallon's Wedding October 3, 2021

 My comments at the reception

First, I want to say that I am honored that my niece, Aleksandra, ask me to represent her father, my brother, here today.


My brother Tim died almost 2 years ago in November from something the doctors called Mantle Cell Lymphoma (they were never sure), but those that knew him well think that it might have been from a broken heart. Our mother Zelma, with whom he was very close had died a few years before and his best friend, our sister Jennifer, had passed away 6 months earlier.


For most of his life Tim was an outwardly happy person with lots of friends and interests. We grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Monterey Park. Later Tim attended Washington State University where he was the manager of the school football team. From there he moved to Seattle where he lived for most of his years as an adult. During his life he held a variety of interesting jobs, from United Airlines Cabin Attendant to pizza store owner and even as a CPA tax accountant. Through it all, he always had a “I’ll do it my way” attitude.


For the last 10 years of his life he moved to San Diego, where our sister lived and where our mother had gone after our father died. In his later years Tim seemed to shut down and withdraw from old friends and activity. No one was ever sure why.

One thing that was always a bright spot for Tim was his daughter Sasha. For years every conversation with him would somehow be turned into something about her. It was the great lament of his life that she grew up so far from him.


When she was very young, he worked hard to build and maintain a relationship with her across the miles. As she got older, he arranged to bring her out to the west coast to develop connections with the rest of our family in California. Our mother had an especially close relationship with her.


As Sasha grew older, she herself initiated many of her own visits. She came to San Diego to attend significant birthdays and family events. She traveled to Michigan, sometimes with her father, to meet her Grandmother Mallon’s family there. She also visited me and her cousin Tim in Boulder, Colorado. Additionally, she, and for a while now with Alex, has gone up to Massachusetts to spend holidays and vacations with her cousins, my daughter Kerry’s family. In short, Sasha has put a great deal of effort into being an active and integrated member of the extended Mallon family. I sometimes think she has a better grasp on who is related to whom and how in the family than I do.

Now back to the present.

Welcome Alex to the Family Clan, as in marriage, “For Better or for Worse”. Having gotten to know you, I’m delighted to have you on board.


You have shared with me that you told Tim, even before you had said it to her, that you loved Sasha, and that he gave his blessing for your marriage.


I am confident in sharing with all here, that this would have been the second happiest day of my brother Tim’s life.


The happiest day was the day that his daughter, Aleksandra, was born.

                                                  Mr. and Mrs. Sasha and Sasha Krueger

Monday, November 18, 2019

Timothy Lawrence Mallon- July 8, 1948 - November 12, 2019                         My brother and how I remember him

My younger brother Timothy died yesterday, Tuesday, November 12, 2019 in San Diego.

Although the doctors think is was from a disease called Mantle Cell Lymphoma (they were never sure), those that knew him well think that it might have been from a broken heart.
Timothy Lawrence Mallon in 1970. He was 18
and had beautiful blue eyes.

His best friend, our sister Jennifer, passed away in May of this year and our mother Zelma, with whom he was also very close, died in October of 2012. As he lived a very solitary life for most of the past 30 years, especially since he moved from Seattle to San Diego approximately 10 years ago, he was left with no one near to him that he was particularly close to. His only child, Sasha, was with him at the end, but she grew up on the East Coast and has her life centered there.

One of my first memories overall, and of Tim in particular, was once when he was about 2 ½, our mother had somehow left the front door open on a sunny day. Naked little Tim bolted out of the door and started waddling down the sidewalk. In many ways this “doing-it-his-way-attitude” never changed. My brother was a lot like our father Lawrence in that way, in fact, the whole family would often refer to Tim as “Little Larry”.

Tim was often loud, boisterous, teasing and fun. He was a joyful child with a lot of friends, many of whom he had stayed in contact with for most of his life. He was on the wrestling team in high School and we would often clear out the furniture in a room and wrestle, even into our 30's. I was bigger, so usually won. However, occasionally Tim would get me into a painful hold that I could not get out of and this, for him I believe, was worth all the losses.

Tim being loud, boisterous, teasing and fun with our cousin
Cheryl Middleton.
When I think back upon my relationship with Tim, I realize that we were never as intimate as brothers might be. For some reason, from the time we were little, he maintained a distance between us, seldom confiding anything and always keeping our relationship at arm’s length. We did argue quite a bit when we were young and I wasn’t always the good big brother I should have been. But, although we were never “close”, we did have a deep understanding from having grown up together and so I believe we always remained friends. Our relationship did, however, warm in the past several years.

He held many jobs including product sales rep, United Airlines Cabin Attendant, Morgan Stanley Stock Broker, real estate sales, CPA, Turbo Tax Consultant and race track usher.. He even tried his hand at owning a pizza restaurant. One strange thing was always true however, he could never abide working for someone else when they made money from his efforts. As unreasonable as this may seem, he was never able to resolve it. 

Tim had his share of oddities, and this problem with working for others was just one of them. Jennifer and I would often comment upon how Tim “always knew better” than others. He was often an enigma that we struggled to understand.

Tim was married twice. The first time to a lovely woman. Unfortunately, that relationship did not last. I never understood why, and Tim never gave much of a reason, at least not to me. His second marriage was to a complex woman with whom he had his daughter Sasha. They were also divorced after a couple of years.
Tim aged 5 in 1953

In trying to assess my feelings about my brother’s death, I feel sadness in that the “Circle of Life,” that he mentioned to me several times in the days before his death, has fully manifested itself in our lives. My parents and both of my siblings are now gone. They have already, and I will someday soon, move on to be replaced by our own children and grandchildren, as they in turn move up another rung on the generational ladder.

This is the condition of existence that we are all born into. I believe the proper way to feel about it is that "we are extremely privileged to be able to experience the gift of life and the beauty it offers”.

So, Tim, farewell. I hope you have found the place in an afterworld with Jennifer and our parents that you spoke of. Your journey here is over and the next one has begun.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Remembering my sister Jennifer-

I was told this morning that she passed away last night.

Me, our mother Zelma, Jennifer and Tim
on Mom's 75th birthday, July 16, 1991.

It was always “Jennifer”, as our mother insisted that we not call her Jen or Jenny or anything else, always Jennifer.

As I remember it-

It was either 1969 or 1970 and the family was living in Monterey Park, near Los Angeles. At 18, Jennifer had just returned from a school trip to Europe where she had felt unnaturally fatigued and had also noticed a lump on her neck. Our mother had taken her to the doctor’s for testing, and on a Friday afternoon they went back to review the results. They were told that the tests showed that Jennifer had something called “Hodgkin’s Disease”. The doctor told her that he did not know much about this condition, but that he had made an appointment for her at White Memorial Hospital the following Monday where they had specialists that could better discuss treatment options. Upon returning home from the doctor’s office that Friday, Jennifer rushed upstairs to look up the disorder in an old encyclopedia set we had. The article she found (this was before Google) described Hodgkin’s Disease as a cancer of the lymph nodes that was often fatal.

That was a long weekend for all of us.

Things, however, improved greatly when she met with the doctors at White Memorial. She was told that there had been great improvements recently in the treatment of her illness. The physicians believed that they had caught it early enough and that with cobalt treatments, , she could expect to live close to a normal life.

What joy!!!

But this then treatment was not without consequences. While she was undergoing the therapy, she became rundown, lost weight and much of her hair (which grew back curly). Long term effects were loss of fat and muscle cells in her torso and, later, heart, lung and artery deterioration. The pain and discomfort from the latter became so acute that towards the end, life for her was no longer worth the suffering.

But she was gifted with an additional 50 years of life!

And, she made it count. Jennifer graduated from San Diego State University with a teaching degree and later picked up her masters. She decided to stay in the area and eventually our mother and brother Tim followed her there. 

Don and Jennifer at Don's Navy retirement.               

She met and married the love of her life, Don Muehlbach (who I believe told her that he would marry her the first time that they met). She had a long career as a primary school teacher, later specializing in reading development. She always had a close relationship with our brother Tim, who would show her his love by tormenting her. She also had a special relationship with my children, Tim and Kerry. The precious sweaters she knitted for their little girls will remain in the family for generations as heirlooms. She had many life-long friends, including the neighbors we grew up with. Many of these people spent time with her in the past few weeks.

Of course, her most wonderful achievement was having two children of her own, Trey and Molly. With all that radiation, having her own kids was never a certainty. And, later came her precocious granddaughter Sienna, in whom she took a special delight.

So, at 67 Jennifer died early by today’s standard, but she was able to fill the time she had with many good years and accomplishments. She was surrounded by loving family and friends to the end. Surely, she had regrets, but she was a good person who lived a valuable, full and happy life.

She was my sister and I loved her.

Charley Coy Mallon
May 30, 2019

Jennifer at 2 years old. I remember when this photo was taken in 1953. Cute, isn’t she?

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Annabelle and Grandpa Charley in Costa Rica

I have three granddaughters and have told them that if they take classes in Spanish I will take them to a Spanish speaking country.

First up was Annabelle Rose Sylvanowicz, 14 years old and in the 8th grade. She is the oldest daughter of my daughter, Kerry, and lives in northern Massachusetts.

She first flew to Colorado to spend a couple of days here with family and especially her cousin Mackenzie.

Activities include a visit to the Butterfly Farm and indoor rock climbing.

Annabelle and I then flew down to Costa Rica.

First up was a trip to Monteverde and a soaring over the rainforest on a zip line.

Then tours on other days to a coffee/sugar/cacao plantation and both day and nocturnal explorations on foot of the rainforest we had earlier sailed above. 

We then headed down to the Pacific Coast for warm weather, a crocodile swamp boat tour, beach time and an introduction to the surfing center of Jaco.

Then we traveled back to the central mountains to the town of San Ramon. We visited the market and another forest walk. We then drove to see the dormant volcano, Arenal, and the nearby lake of the same name, which is the largest in Costa Rica.

As all good things have to end, we then were on our way home.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Clean Water for the Community of El Siuce in Jalapa, Nicaragua

On December 15, 2017 for the third time I travelled to Nicaragua to promote a clean water project. Once again, I was joined by my friends from Boulder Valley Rotary, John and Maud Kenyon. John is at the beginning stages of writing a Rotary Global Grant for the small village of El Siuce, located on a rutted, steep, dirt road outside the mountainous northern city of Jalapa, fast against the Honduran border.

We previously have been involved with successfully rebuilding gravity-fed potable water systems in the near-by communities of Pasmata and El Trapiche. Again, we are partnering with Boulder Friendship City Projects (FCP) and their local representatives Karla Pozo and Greg Bowles.

I arrived the evening of the Friday the 15th at the Managua airport and was met there by Greg, a U.S. citizen married to a Nicaraguan. They live about an hour south of the capital city near the small town of Diriomo. He invited me to spend the first night at his place. There we turned off the porch and yard lights to appreciate the stars, something not possible with all the ambient light at home.


Saturday and Sunday, December 16 and 17- As we always try to mix fun with work on these trips,
I spent the next two days in the old colonial city of Managua. I followed a walking tour suggested in the Lonely Planet Travel Guide that included centuries-old architecture, museums, the central plaza and a boat tour of the small islands in Lake Nicaragua. I stayed at the wondrously named Mansion de Chocolate. 

John and Maud, who arrived in-country on the 16th, joined me for the second 


Monday-December 18- Greg, John, Maud and I traveled by taxi to Ciudad Sandino, just north of Managua, to meet with Mike Woodard, an American member of the local Rotary Club.

Afterward we ventured a short distance to the closeby clay water filter factory, where we met up with a delegation down from El Siuce in their chartered bus that included Karla Pozo, the Jalapa based FCP representative.
After a tour of the facility and a training session in the use and maintenance of the filters, we loaded the 127 clay filters, along with their plastic containers, onto the bus for a long slog north to Jalapa.

The trip was highlighted by an hour stop by police who had a difficult time figuring out what we were all about.

El Siuce presently has a barely functioning, cobbled together, dam and pipe (in some cases garden hoses) water system. Tests on the water show high concentrations of agriculture waste, e-coli and other impurities. 

These filters are a stop gap measure. If properly maintained, they can provide from one to three liters of 99.8% pure water an hour for up to 5 years. Boulder Valley Rotary and FCP are in the beginning stages of writing grants to cover the expected cost of up to $80,000 for and entirely new system. The grant process takes time however, and the filters are a way to provide drinkable water to the residents until we can get this done.

Tuesday-December 19- We woke up in our home-away-from-home in Jalapa, the Pantano hotel.

We then all headed out through rain to the site of El Siuce to distribute the filters to community members. Boulder Valley Rotary and FCP had each contributed $2000 dollars for the purchase of the units at $23 each. Recipients were required to cover the cost of transportation from Ciudad Santino, which amounted to $450, so they to had “skin in the game”.

Our hoped for festive distribution of the filters was muted by the wet weather, as we all huddled on the porch of someone’s home for an impromptu training session conducted by Karla. 

The handing out of the filters was a laborious process that involved making sure those who received one had originally ordered and paid their portion of the transportation cost. 

Nevertheless, the atmosphere was that of appreciativeness, as the community has come to recognize that many of the health problems they are suffering from are probably caused by the contaminated water. As not everyone chose to sign up for the original order, Karla took a list of names for a future order that will total about 30 more units.

The village provided all we visitors with a hearty chicken soup meal.

Wednesday-December 20- We drove from Jalapa to visit a previously unknown, nearby clay filter factory, that will be much closer to our Jalapa projects than the one in Ciudad Sandino. We will thus be able to reduce transportation costs on future orders.

We then spent most of the day hiking, wading, floating and swimming the Coco river in Somoto

That evening with participated in a meeting with the Somoto Rotary club and secured their commitment to serve as the Host Country Club for the new Rotary grant for El Siuce.

Thursday-December 21- Our trip from Somoto back to Managua was highlighted by a side trip up to GalerĂ­a del Arte de Jalacate. This arduous hike up Jalacate mountain brought us to the site of the interesting rock carvings done by Antonio Guitierrez, a semi-hermit octogenarian, who has spent his life in his work.

This evening we met with Rob Bell of El Porvenir, who agreed to help us in several ways with our El Siuce project.

Friday-December 22- Travel back home to begin Christmas season.

All in all, a good trip for moving the El Siuce work ahead and for finding fun and adventure.