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Gaylord Mark Malecha, 59, of Canyon, passed away on Tuesday, June 12, 2018. Mass will be celebrated at 10:00 A.M. on Monday, June 18, 2018 at St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral in Amarillo with Father Grant Spinhirne officiating. A Vigil will be held at 7:00 P.M. on Sunday, June 17, 2018 at Brooks Chapel in Canyon. Burial will be in St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery in Umbarger.
Gaylord was born November 25, 1958 in Northfield, MN to Dick and Jeannie (Valek) Malecha, the Valek and Malecha families both being large catholic families in the area to which Gaylord attributed many fond memories of family gatherings over the years. His parents preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Juanita Hartman Malecha, one daughter, Whitney and husband, Brian Bengen, and two granddaughters, Muriel and Sophia Bengen of Northfield, MN. He has an older brother, Rick of Mariette, GA, a sister, Renee of Rochester, MN, a brother, Larry and wife, Dawn of Faribault, MN, and sister, Dawn Marie Forshee and husband, Phil of East Hampton, MA, along with niece Nicole Vosejpka and nephews Adam Malecha, Ricky Little and Zander Malecha. He became a staple in the Hartman family, often referring to himself as Carl and Lorene’s favorite son-in-law. He and Juanita hosted many a family event including her brothers Dennis, Marvin, Floyd, and Galen and their families.
Gaylord absolutely loved his childhood as his parents owned a small fishing resort – renting out cabins and boats. Many stories abound among the siblings as to the adventures shared. Both Gaylord’s life-long love of fishing and his strong work ethic were the result of his raising. Everyone who knows Gaylord knows that he would rather fish for walleye than any other. He was thankful they were abundant in Ute Lake despite the fact that he had to drive 1½ hours each way – rather hard to accept after growing up in the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
He moved to the Dallas area in 1988 but soon found his way to Amarillo where he met the love of his life, Juanita Hartman, at mass at St. Thomas Church. They were married in Umbarger, TX on February 14, 1993. They soon joined what is now St. Mary’s Cathedral and recently enjoyed their 25th wedding anniversary. He loved attending mass, quite often pulling up in his semi while making a delivery on a Saturday evening. He joined Juanita for noon daily mass for a time, long before he became ill. At one time St. Mary’s asked for workers to assist at funeral dinners. Having sold The Rock Ranch, Gaylord volunteered and despite the fact that it was almost all women, he continued to serve until he became sick.
With nothing but an idea and a sincere passion for work, he rented a small lot along I-27, drove to Arizona and returned with a trailer load of rock and The Rock Ranch was born, a retail stoneyard which was the first to bring landscaping stone to the homeowners of the Panhandle area for their do-it-yourself projects, soon to be followed by landscapers and builders in the area becoming consistent customers. He became well known by his first name, his sincere personality, his genuine business dealings and of course, his Minnesota accent which he never quite lost. He sold many personalized engraved rocks and benches, loving it most when someone requested “The Lord is My Rock”. He was privileged to have Marlin Austin work for him for eight years, Marlin being the salt of the earth. After Marlin left, he hired various young workers, many of whom have expressed their appreciation for the influence Gaylord had on their lives, a mentor without setting out to be.
Gaylord was diagnosed with CMML leukemia in the fall of 2016 and sought treatment at Baylor in Dallas. The stem cell transplant was successful but subsequently occurring cancers and complications were more than this otherwise unstoppable man could take. He amazed everyone with his strength, faith and courage. With the unfailing support of his wife, made possible because of the understanding of her employer, Juanita was by his side constantly and considers it a privilege to have become his servant in the eyes of the Lord, heartbreaking as the results are. There are too many friends and family to thank individually – SO many prayers, cards, visits, food, errands, and calls. Gaylord was able to call many and tell them personally how much he loved and appreciated them. If you didn’t get one of those calls, please forgive him, he was busy fighting his fight and doing his last hard work, that of drawing many closer to God through prayer and supplication. Gaylord was a sincere, genuine person. Each of you present meant a lot to him and a part of each of you is now with him on the other side, just as a part of him will always remain with you.
The family suggests memorials be to the charity of your choice.