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Mission Matters: A Lifetime Of Making A Difference

Former YMCA General Director John G. Malinowski Celebrates His 90th Birthday

News Release

SOUTH AMBOY – The YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy wishes John G. Malinowski a happy 90th birthday on Sunday, July 29th. “Mr. Mal” as he is affectionately known by his YMCA family, served as the General Director of the YMCA of Metuchen from 1980 to 1988. Mr. Mal is a long time resident of South Amboy, where he resides with his loving wife of 64 years, Marian. He and Marian are exceptionally proud of their two children, Bruce and Donna, and six grandchildren, Anna, Brian, Christian, Emily, Jenna, and Mary Kate.

Born in New York City, Mr. Mal grew up near in the Theatre District and belonged to the West Side YMCA where he was a member of the Leader’s Club and the YMCA Swim Team. For him, the YMCA was a refuge, a place he could go to after school where he could participate in safe, supervised activities. He graduated from McBurney School, a part of the educational system of the YMCA of Greater New York. Other celebrity graduates of McBurney include JD Salinger and Henry Winkler.

Mr. Mal’s first job out of school was at the Medical Film Guild, producing medical teaching films. He was responsible for the photography used to create motion pictures later distributed to colleges and medical schools. Mr. Mal worked there for most of his career, leaving from 1943-46 to serve in the United States Air Force. He was attached to the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, and was honorably discharged in 1946 as a Sergeant.

In 1970, Mr. Mal joined the Metuchen YMCA as an Extension Director responsible for developing relationships between the local school systems and the Y. A couple years later, he was promoted to Branch Director responsible for the operations of the Metuchen Y. From 1980 until his retirement in 1988, Mr. Mal served as the General Director of the Metuchen Y and set the groundwork for many long-standing relationships between the Y and local businesses and organizations. His advice to the next generation is “leave yourself open to meeting new people and making new friends. You never know where your relationships will take you in your career.”

For many years, Mr. Mal nurtured the promise of young children and instilled the YMCA core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility through his role as the Swim & Dive Coach at the Metuchen Branch. He also coordinated swim shows by the “Aqua Maniacs”, who performed aqua-based comedy acts. However, Mr. Mal is best known around South Amboy for his tenure as the Swim & Dive Coach at Frog Hollow Swim Club.

Mr. Mal recognizes the importance of community involvement. He is a former member of the Rotary Club, and also volunteered for the Edison Sheltered Workshop. Throughout his career at the Metuchen Y, Mr. Mal was instrumental in spearheading the yearly community effort of food baskets and toys for those in the community who found it financially challenging to enjoy a holiday. With the help of many community groups and local businesses, the Y arranged and distributed approximately 100 food baskets and over 300 toys out into the community.

Now that he is retired, Mr. Mal enjoys his membership at the South Amboy Branch YMCA, and is excited to watch our recent expansion into his community. Retirement presented a great opportunity for Mr. Mal to continue to dabble in photography. He would often take time from a busy day to capture the many faces that came through the Y doors, and share those photos with the parents and families. He also enjoys working on his model trains and machines. Mini-cannons were one of his favorite works of art, which he graciously shared with many.

Our YMCA, founded in 1921, just celebrated our 90th anniversary. Together, the YMCA directors, staff and members take great pleasure in wishing Mr. Mal a very happy 90th birthday! We wanted to share his story because it is also our YMCA story. The YMCA nurtures potential and gives everyone an opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Thanks Mr. Mal for being a great example of a YMCA success story whose journey has taken him from the New York West Side Y to the YMCA of Metuchen, Edison, Woodbridge & South Amboy!

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