Cover photo for Malcolm "Mal" Kembur Laidlaw's Obituary
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Malcolm "Mal" Kembur Laidlaw

January 2, 1928 — December 7, 2022

Malcolm "Mal" Kembur Laidlaw

January 2, 1928 — December 7, 2022

Malcolm "Mal" Kembur Laidlaw left his earthly body on December 7th, 2022. He died not far from where he was born on January 2, 1928 in Monterey Park, CA. It's difficult to sum up a life as full as Mal's–he died just before his 95th birthday, weeks after his last cruise with his family. His life was filled to the brim with travel, hobbies, family, and an overwhelming amount of love given and received.

He was born at home, to his mother Grace Adelaide Laidlaw and his father, Walter Malcolm Laidlaw. Mal was close to his mother and spoke of her kindness and frugal nature often. She passed this love of frugality to Mal–no one relished a coupon or a deal more than him. He was exceptionally attached to his brothers Bill, Allan, and Bob. He loved them and their families and was close to them all his life.

Mal's childhood included many family road trips in a Model B Ford, daring homemade skateboard and pedal car races with his brothers, and various money making schemes - paper routes, magazine sales, and pinsetter at the local bowling alley. He learned to play the violin beautifully at age 8, but his heart was always in hobbies that could be done with those he loved: long motorcycle trips (finally quit when he was 75), camping (with a puzzle table set up), waterskiing (downgraded to waverunners when he was 70), card playing (he loved winning), badminton (State Seniors Champ), and so many more.

Right after Mal graduated from Mark Keppel High, he joined the Marines and deployed to Guam. Mal served honorably for three years and was proud to be a WWII veteran. He had been dating Donna Mae for 6 yrs, and when he was honorably discharged, Mal married the girl next door, Donna Mae Petersen. With her sparkling eyes and a happy spirit, Mal was hooked. She and Mal were married in 1948, lived in Alhambra for a time, then settled in Monterey Park in 1966 to raise their family.

Mal worked hard to provide for his family, and spent the majority of his career with General Foods. He was an excellent and respected salesman, finally holding the position of Key Accounts Executive, with a new company car every year. Five children followed - Glenn Allan, Malcolm Jr. (died at birth), Susan Diane, Donald Brian, and Carol Ilene. Mal and Donna also fostered many children, both informally and formally. Their home was always open to friends, family, and was a generous place with warm acceptance and kindness for all.

One of the most important things in Mal's life was his faith. He was an active and deeply committed member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Over the years, he held many important positions in the church, including Bishop and Stake High Counselor. Malcolm provided a great deal of loving counsel and service to ward congregants, and said, "I have always been active, and loved and appreciated the Gospel in my life." Mal lived a life centered around his eternal family and his faith.

Mal retired early in 1985, at age 58, so he could have more time with his many hobbies and busy social calendar. He enjoyed nearly 40 years of fantastic retirement. Donna died in 1996 and Mal mourned her death by spending time with family and friends. Mal enjoyed being

married, and his loved ones were happy when Malcolm reconnected with one of his sweet former congregants, Alicia Garfias. Eventually, the two fell in love and married in 1997. With this marriage, Mal enjoyed a new love of travel. Mal said once that Alicia had helped fill his life with happiness and love, and counted her as best friend, caretaker, and beloved wife.

With Alicia, Mal became the Cruise King. He went everywhere–Japan, Panama Canal, Russia, China, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii–you name it. He had it down to a science, and could predict the ship's goings-on to fellow travelers. He would commandeer part of the dining room as his card den, and if you got cornered into a game of gin with him, you could expect to lose.

Malcolm is survived by no end of loving family and friends: Alicia Laidlaw, beloved wife and constant companion, daughter Susan (Stephen) Kendrick, son Don (Sharee) Laidlaw, and many grandchildren and great-grandkids who loved him and his famous snack closet. After his marriage to Alicia, Mal was lucky enough to join with another family that honored and cared for him, including Monica (Ronnie) Cisco, Lydia Martz, David (Dorys) Garfias, Cindy (Yohann) Lucas, and Lynda (Luke) Lewallen.

He was predeceased by his first wife, Donna, son Glenn (Kathy), daughter Carol (Bill), infant son Malcolm Jr, brothers Bill and Allan, his parents, and so many others that Mal looked forward to seeing again in the afterlife. He was grateful for the long, happy life he lived. Mal said it best: "It's been a wonderful life!"

A service for Malcolm will be held on Tuesday, December 20,2022 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Hillview Building at 2316 Hillview Ave, Monterey Park, CA. The viewing will be held from 9 am to 10:30 am, with the family prayer at 10:30 am. The funeral will begin at 11 am, with interment to follow with Military Honors at Live Oak Cemetery in Monrovia, CA.
To send flowers to the family in memory of Malcolm "Mal" Kembur Laidlaw, please visit our flower store.


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