Longtime voice of the railers passes away

By Blake Spurney

NEWTON – Ralph Malin, the “Voice of the Railers” for more than 40 years, died last week at the age of 79.

Phil Anderson, a long time Newton sports fan, said he always expected to see Malin in the press box.

“He was softspoken but when it came to announcing, he knew what was required of him,” Anderson said.

Malin started calling football games for the Railers in 1980. He started calling basketball games a couple of years later and also announced for volleyball, baseball and softball games and the Tournament of Champions. Anderson said the quality of equipment wasn’t as good when Malin started out.

“It’s not an easy task, but when you’ve done it for so long, the delivery is important,” he said. “The equipment has improved but you still have to have the talent to do it well.”

Anderson said he never heard a negative word about Malin, who was well-liked by his students at Chisholm Middle School, where he taught social studies for nearly 40 years.

“It’s great for a teacher to have that respect,” he said.

Athletic Director Brian Becker said Malin helped mark the school’s cross country course at Centennial Park with Ron Capps. Becker said Malin tried to give back any possible way he could.

“Those two developed the course at Centennial and tried to stay involved as much as they could.

Capps said Malin was his best friend for decades. Both started their careers in Newton in the mid-1960s. Capps taught and coached at Santa Fe, and the two coached intramurals against each other for years before Capps began coaching at the high school.

“We competed in a friendly way,” Capps said. “We were friends before we were coaches. Just a super person. He just had a good demeanor.”

Capps said Malin was always at events ready to work.

Meya Green wrote a story about Malin’s long service in 2017 for The Railer News.

“Being a coach for many years while I was still teaching made me very much into athletics and sports,” she quoted him as saying. “Newton High School means a lot to me.”

Murray Anderson, Phil’s son, said Malin would be missed by a lot of students on whom he made an impact and those he coached. Many former students expressed their condolences on a class reunion website. When Murray’s late brother, Clay, got engaged, two of the first people to whom he introduced his future wife were Malin and Capps.

Malin also delivered Meals on Wheels. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m., Saturday, July 9, at Trinity Heights United Methodist Church in Newton.

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