Eudora News and Information~www.eudorareporter.com
There is something more for kids at Lucy Kaegi Park,1638 Elm, than the traditional swings and slides. Children can play on a brand new climbing wall while their moms relax on a nearby bench positioned under a shade tree. Both the climbing wall and the bench were made possible through donations to the Gary Malburg memorial fund.
Gary Malburg, who died February 7, 2012 at age 65, had spent the last 40 years of his life in Eudora. He served as Eudora’s city manager in the 1990’s and was owner of Malburg Electric, a company that started out in the air conditioning business but moved into electric gates, designed and built by Malburg himself.
Malburg was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2009 and fought a courageous battle for three years. When it became evident that he wasn’t going to recover, Gary discussed his wishes with his wife Roberta and daughters Maria Oroke and Maribeth Orr. Gary didn’t want a funeral and he definitely didn’t want flowers.
Over 400 people came to a reception at the Eudora United Methodist Church in his honor three weeks after his death. Gary’s favorite foods (bologna sandwiches, chips and Oreos!) were served, and lots of stories and memories were shared by his many friends and family members.
“After he died, the girls and I decided on the playground equipment since Gary was a big kid at heart,” said Roberta. “We contacted the bank about getting a fund set up.”
Contributions poured in. Scott Tumberland,a Eudora city employee who had worked with Gary, asked if he could be the one to put together and install the equipment in the park. Both pieces were in place about a year after Gary’s death. During warm weather the park is hopping with kids and all of them, big or small, enjoy the climbing wall. It’s had a lot of use in the year it’s been there.
Having the new equipment in the park is very special for the Malburg family. “When I see the kids playing, I feel like I’m looking through Gary’s eyes. He would have enjoyed it just as much,” shared Roberta. “He was such a kid himself.”
Gary Malburg made another significant donation: he donated his body to science through the Kansas City University of Medicine and Bio sciences, the school his daughter Maribeth attended. His desire was that research using his body might help someone else.
Besides his wife and daughters, Malburg left behind six grandchildren: Morgan and Corbin Oroke, and Truman, Maizey, Lainey and Pullen Orr.