Joseph F. Malango-deceased


                             Obituary for Joseph F. Malango

Joseph Frank Malango was born to Grace McGinley, formerly of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, on June 22, 1932 at the New York Foundling Hospital. Grace chose not to give Joe up for adoption, and he was placed with (Teresa) Tessie and Raphael Malango where he absorbed the Italian culture and language. The Malango family had a daughter, Gloria, who continues to be his life sister.

Joe was raised in the close knit Bronx Italian community where he had many small jobs. Every month he took the subway to visit Sister Marie Catherine at the Foundling Home; she oversaw Joe’s educational, social and medical needs. Joe served as an altar boy at masses at Saint Lucy’s Church.

At the end of World War II Gloria married Glenn Ray of Lakeview, Oregon and the whole family moved to Lakeview. Some months previously, his mother Grace had died so Joe was able to stay with the family and begin a new life out West.

At Lakeview High Joe became active in the Thespians and Future Farmers of America, becoming President of both clubs. Joe attracted the attention of Forrest Cooper, a local attorney, and Don Henry, the Drama teacher. With their mentoring and support, he graduated from the University of Oregon, majoring in drama.

At the University of Oregon theatre program, Joe met Patricia Johnson, and they married in 1955. Together they had three daughters: Teresa (Tami), Christina (Tina) and Lisa. Joe began his teaching career at Monroe High School, moving to Corvallis High School in 1958.

Joe helped create a drama program at CHS that was the foundation of the superb program that exists today. For twenty years he directed three plays a year: a drama or comedy; a children’s play, and often a musical. The musicals were done in coordination with Joe Lobato, the music program director. Later Robert Baldwin became the scene designer for the theater, and the productions at CHS reached a high level of stagecraft. The children’s play was double cast, and four Saturday performances were held at CHS. Pat partnered with Joe, sewing costumes and writing many of the children’s plays. Teresa, Christina and Lisa grew up in the CHS auditorium and occasionally acted in plays. They were fully seeped in theater; it was a childhood filled with show tunes and a love the arts.

Joe studied Mime with Francesco Reynders, a student of Marcel Marceau, and he started a Mime program at CHS in the late seventies. Students learned the basics and then were encouraged to create their own mime scenes, solo or full cast. The Mime Troop performed frequently, traveling to schools throughout the county. He also taught speech communication and chaired the English Department.

In addition to his work at CHS, Joe started a Summer Drama Program through Corvallis Parks and Recreation, introducing hundreds of children to the magical world of theater. Plays were double cast and presented at the end of the summer. Many of the plays were written by Patricia Malango.

Joe was involved in the start of The Valley Round Barn Theater, Readers Theater, Corvallis Community Theater and the Majestic Theater. After retiring from teaching in 1989, he served on the Boards and as President of the Community Theater and the Majestic Theater. He acted, produced and directed at all these companies, but especially loved doing Readers Theater. A particular favorite production was Love Letters with Vida Krantz. He was actively involved in the founding of The Corvallis Arts Center and famously climbed to the belfry and rang the bell opening weekend. In 1999 he was honored as Corvallis Patron of the Arts. In his retirement he was actively involved in weekly lunch time concerts at the Corvallis Arts Center. He also volunteered at Benton Hospice, now Lumina Hospice.

Joe married Lois Levine in 1974 in the backyard of their Garfield Street house, and Teresa, Christina and Lisa made their home complete. The house became the center of the family for four generations and forty years. Christmas was particularly special with every minute of the day filled with family traditions, featuring favorite meals and numerous practical jokes. He loved his Garfield neighbors and developed long relationships. Leaving the Garfield Street house in 2014 for a move to Albany’s Mennonite Village was difficult for everyone, but Joe and Lois settled into the Village where life was easier.

In 1989 Joe and Lois did a search for Grace, Joe’s mother, and easily found the McGinley family. The following year a reunion was held in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania; and Joe and Lois were welcomed by the entire McGinley clan.

Always active, Joe loved sports. His Saturday set building work parties were followed by basketball in the old CHS gym but only if you worked the whole day. Crew fare was dollar burgers and ice cream sandwiches. He played basketball with the Sunday Slugs where he was known as “elbows”. An avid jock, he regularly played volleyball, golf, pickleball and was a member of a bowling team; he continued bowling to the last months of his life (Thank you, Dennis Corliss) Joe also announced home games for the girls volleyball team (state champion) and the wrestling team. He spotted for home football games at Reser Stadium. The sports page was the first thing he read in the morning. He was an avid Duck fan and followed the Trailblazers.

Joe was the guy who always met you with a joke or two. He was known for his home baked biscotti from Mama Tessie’s recipe which he had committed to memory. They were often auctioned at the Arts Center’s Chocolate Fantasy with monthly deliveries He favored white food: vanilla ice cream, pasta and a good baguette.

Joe was a beloved teacher to many generations of Corvallis kids and helped foster a life long love of theater for many. Long after he retired, wherever he went, he ran into former students who consistently reaffirmed this. Many of his students went on to have meaningful careers in theater.

Joe retired from CHS in 1989 and enjoyed a long retirement of volunteering and playing; he loved puttering around the house and yard. Lois and Joe were able to travel to Europe and Mexico several times; they especially liked going to an American city and absorbing it for a week to ten days. There were many trips to New York City with lots of theater. He served on the Federal Grand Jury in Eugene for 18 months.

One of his favorite gigs was working on Neal Gladstone’s shows, at the Majestic and the CHS auditorium. He acted as stage manager, announcer and created quirky roles; his favorites were Blackie the Gangster and Phantom of the Opera (with a bleach bottle mask)

Joe and Lois were fortunate to buy a small beach house near Waldport where dear friends also owned cabins. There were long beach walks, fires on the beach and many, many games of beach bocce. Labor Day celebrations with their friends was legendary. Joe and Lois owned a small condo in downtown Portland where they enjoyed theater, tried new restaurants, and watched the city morph into what it is today. The condo was well used by many family members and friends.

In his last years Parkinson’s Disease slowed Joe down, but he worked diligently with exercise programs, physical therapy, voice therapy and daily home exercises to keep it at bay as much as possible. The Parkinsons Resource of Oregon (PRO) group in Albany was a great support with leader Lynn Hubert. Special thanks to Joanne Markham, instructor of the Power Ahead class at Sam Fit in North Albany. Ultimately complications from a fall resulted in a rapid and unanticipated decline.

Joe and his family were blessed that he spent his final days at Evergreen Hospice. His daughters and Lois helped care for him in those final days. He was never alone and was surrounded by peace and love. He was able to meet and hold his week-old great granddaughter, Ada Faye and have 5 of his grandchildren talk to him by phone from around the world.

Joe is survived by his wife, Lois; daughter Teresa and her daughter Grace Malango-Blake, her husband Rob Whitson and great granddaughter Ada Faye Whitson; daughter Christina and her sons Sam Malango, Jules Thorn and wife Taylor Thorn, and Riley McGinley; Lisa Francisco and husband Eddy Francisco and their triplets, Madeline, Dominic and Liliana. His sister, Gloria and her husband Glenn and his former wife Patricia Malango also survive him.

Rememberances can be made to the Corvallis Schools Theater Department in care of the Corvallis Public School Foundation, 1555 SE 35th Street, Corvallis Or 97322 or contribute/donate. Please note Joe Malango on your checks or on the website.
A celebration of Joe’s life will be held Sunday, June 21st at The Corvallis Arts Center. Please save the date.
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