Robert Jennings "Bob" Malcolm, former Elkins City Councilman, 84, a resident of Elkins, departed this life early Tuesday morning June 12, 2012, in Valentine's Personal Care Home at Beverly. He had been in declining health.
He was born Sunday, March 18, 1928, at Elkins, a son of the late Ada Malcolm Wilt. He lived with his grandmother, Loretta Brown Malcolm, and his aunt and uncle, Loretta May and Wilson Malcolm.
On Nov. 17, 1948, he was married to the former Mary Belle Upton, who preceded him in death during 1979. She served as the first female constable in the United States.
Surviving are one daughter, Judith Ann "Judy" Taylor and husband, Robert Blaine "Bob," of Montrose; and one granddaughter, Mary Rebecca Malcolm Taylor and her fiance, Steve Chamberlain, of Phoenix, Ariz.; his special friend of 24 years, Margaret Isner Meadows of Gilman, her daughter, Melody Meadows, and also her son, Jason "Chip" Meadows.
Mr. Malcolm was well known in the Elkins area, having served as Third Ward Councilman for 14 years during the administrations of mayors Jimmy Hammonds, Virgil Broughton, Judy Guye Swanson and current mayor, I.D. "Duke" Talbott. For 14 years prior to his service in city council, he was a volunteer fireman with the Elkins Fire Department for 12 years.
He attended the public schools of Elkins, including Elkins High School and Fort Hill High School, Cumberland, Md. His first job as a teenager was at the old Hippodrome Theatre owned by Marie Kostakos, who also owned the old Manos Theatre. Bob had also worked at the Elkins YMCA bowling alley setting up pins.
As a young man, Bob had an interest in fast cars and occasionally entered races at the Montrose race track. During the 1950s, he worked on hot-rods at Smith Chevrolet in Elkins.
In 1944, at the age of 16, he began his career with the Western Maryland Railroad as an apprentice mechanic, working in Bergoo, Slaty Fork, Spruce, and Cumberland, Md. He retired in 1987 after 43 years. In addition to his work with the Western Maryland, his tenure included employment with the B&O and CSX railroads. As a member of the Fireman and Oilers Union, he served first as financial secretary, then was appointed and later elected union president, a position he held for seven years with responsibility for five states, including West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia, and parts of Pennsylvania.
Bob reserved his weekends away from the railroad to pursue a life-long interest in country music, which led him to form his own band, "Bob and the Porta-Jays." Members of the band included Carl Summerville and brothers, Butch and Jerry Davis, and Pete Davis. He played guitar and was a lead singer with the popular country ensemble, touring throughout West Virginia, as well as Maryland, Ohio, and Virginia. He twice performed at the Capital Music Hall Jamboree USA, in Wheeling. He had served as president of Local 684, Grafton, of the American Federation of Musicians Union and retained membership until his death.
He enjoyed a special camaraderie with other local country musicians, including Woodie Simmons, Grady Guye, the Currence Brothers, Brad Gum and the famous guitarist Joe Maphis of Cumberland, Md. His popularity and solid musicianship brought him offers to play in Nashville. However, he could not accept the offer from "Music City" due to his full-time job with the railroad. During a vacation in Tampa, Fla., he twice played solo guitar and sang at the well-known U.S. 92 Club.
Bob was devoted to the Elkins community and was always willing to serve in every way possible to make it a better place to live. He loved to talk about the development and history of the Elkins area. He will be sorely missed by his many friends in the community and at Woodford Memorial United Methodist Church, where he was an active member. He had sung in the choir and also operated the sound system.
The family will receive friends at Lohr & Barb Funeral Home of Elkins from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday. Final rites will be conducted at the funeral home chapel Saturday, June 16, at 1:30 p.m. The Rev. Dr. William E. Calhoun will officiate and interment will follow in Maplewood Cemetery at Elkins.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy in the form of contributions be made to the Woodford Memorial United Methodist Church, 113 First St., Elkins, WV 26241. Lohr & Barb Funeral Home is in charge
of the arrangements for Robert Jennings "Bob" Malcolm. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.lohrbarbfuneralhome.com.