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Jacob H. "Jake" Malta
June 13, 1919 - August 9, 2010

AGEHR Honorary Life member and founder/president of Malmark, Inc. Jake Malta died Monday night, August 9, 2010 at his home in New Britain, Pennsylvania, at age 91.

A native of Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, Jake Malta founded Malmark, Inc., Plumsteadville, Pennsylvania, in 1974. As president and chief engineer, he was responsible for designing the Malmark handbell in 1974, along with its further improvements and innovations throughout the years. He also designed the first American handchime in 1982.

Mr. Malta's work with handbells began as vice president of engineering for Schulmerich Carillons, Sellersville, Pennsylvania, from 1955 until 1972. Prior to that his work included designing automotive test equipment at Lanagan & Hoke, Philadelphia.

Considered the "Father of American Handbells" Mr. Malta has been directly involved in the design of handbells through nine octaves and handchimes through seven octaves. He also designed and produced the first acceptable aluminum bass handbells for lower 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th octaves. He once said, after 35 years of hands-on design and tuning of handbells, that the old adage of "the more I learn, the less I know" accurately describes his knowledge of handbells. He has listed his greatest gratification as, "participating and contributing towards achieving the goal of the AGEHR in 'uniting people through a musical art.'"

Mr. Malta attended Bucknell Junior College and Penn State University. He served the United States Army in World War II participating in the Invasion of North Africa (Morocco); North African, Sicilian and Italian campaigns; and the China/Burma/India Theatre specializing in Air to Ground Control of Aircraft as well as Field Cryptography.

Mr. Malta was named an Honorary Life member of AGEHR in 1994. He was inducted by the National Association of Music Merchants, Carlsbad, California, into their Oral History Interview Project for design innovations in handbells and handchimes. He was also a life member of the DAV and F&AM.

Mr. Malta is survived by brothers Phillip & Edward (Margaret) of Wilkes-Barre, PA, his daughters Lora Mohr of Bedminster, Pennsylvania, and Joann Malta of New Britain, Pennsylvania, grandchildren Erin Schuback (Tim) of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Derek Mohr (Adrienne) of Bedminster, Pennsylvania, and great grandchildren Mia Mohr and Shane Schuback. A viewing will be held at Shelly Funeral Home, Plumsteadville, Pennsylvania, on Monday August 16th from 2pm to 4pm. Memorial contributions may be made to Doylestown Hospital or St. Mary Antiochian Orthodox Church at 905 South Main St. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, 18702.