(January 7, 1938 – July 14, 2016)
Ernest (Ernie) Malzahn Jr, 78, of Eloy, Arizona, formerly of Midland, passed unexpectedly away July 14, 2016 at Banner Casa Grande Hospital in Casa Grande, AZ. He was born in Rochester, MI on January 7, 1938 to the late Earnest Sr. and Vera (Haff) Malzahn. On October 13, 1952 he married Sue West in Custer, OH and they had 53 wonderful years together.Ernie Malzahn attended Utica High School graduating in 1956. In 1954-55 he was an All-Conference back in football on both offense and defense. He was a state champion high hurdler in track in 1955 and 1956 and also played guard on the basketball team.Ernie received a full ride scholarship from Bowling Green University graduating in 1962 with a Masters Degree. While at Bowling Green State University, Malzahn earned four letters in track and three letters in cross-country. He was the Mid-American Conference low hurdle champion in 1959 and 1960 and a member of Sigma Delta Psi fraternity.Malzahn came to Midland as a physical education teacher in 1962 staying until his retirement in 1996. During his thirty-four years in the Midland Public Schools he served as an assistant football coach at Central Intermediate for five years and as an assistant football coach at H. H. Dow High School for twenty-seven years. The Michigan Football Coaches Association named Malzahn the Assistant Football Coach of the Year in 1982. He also coached track at Northeast Intermediate for one year and was an assistant track coach at Midland High School for four years. Malzahn was named Varsity Head Track Coach at H. H. Dow High School in 1968 and served in that capacity for twenty-eight years. During his tenure as track coach, Malzahn coached a state champion record holder in the pole vault and a runner up in the 800 meter. When Malzahn retired from H.H. Dow High School two traditions left, Malzahn and his famous green shorts.In 1998, Malzahn was elected to the Utica High School Hall of Fame as a high hurdler and a member of the 880-yard relay team. Malzahn was also elected to the Michigan High School Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2005 he was elected to the Midland Hall of Fame. Ernie was the Exalted Ruler of BPOE Elks 1610, 1988-1989 and 1990-1991.Ernie enjoyed teaching his grandchildren to fish and camp. His love of golfing never wavered even after his amputation and heart surgeries. He couldn?ÇÖt understand why his drives kept getting shorter as he aged, still thought he should be able to drive over 200 yards, but he honed his short game to perfection. His love of his great grandsons kept him young and he built a farm with all the out buildings and animals where he would play with his oldest great grandson for hours. He also built the boys a fort so they could play in their yard. He loved old western TV shows his favorites were The Lone Ranger and Cheyenne, which he got the oldest to watch with him.Ernie is survived by his wife Sue, daughter Melissa Malzahn of Arizona, son Matthew Malzahn of California, brother Paul Malzahn of Michigan, sister Patricia Kemppainen of Georgia, 3 grandchildren, Brandon Harless, Kaila and Eric Malzahn, and 2 great grandsons, Chase and Mason Harless.A celebration of life will be held at Smith-Miner Funeral Home on Saturday, October 8th at 11:00 am. Friends may visit with the family on Saturday from 10 am until the time of service. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider American Heart Association or Arizona Amputee Association . On line condolences can be left at smithminer.com.