By Amy Lavalley; Post-Tribune correspondent
Ex-hospital administrator, community leader dies
Art Malasto is being remembered as a community leader and dedicated father who loved his community.
Malasto, the former long-time administrator for what was then called Porter Memorial Hospital, died Saturday, March 26, at VNA Hospice. He was 86.
“He was an incredible man and a great father, so we were blessed,” his daughter Judy Leetz of Valparaiso said.
Malasto, who leaves behind his wife, Irene, six children, and many grand- and great-grandchildren, served first as assistant administrator and then administrator at the hospital, Leetz said. It was a position he held for 35 years, starting around 1955.
He was “full of pride” about the new Porter Valparaiso campus, slated to open in September 2012 at Indiana 49 and U.S. 6, Leetz said. Malasto was so proud of his time at the hospital that, as per his instructions, the funeral procession will go past his former work place.
“He wants to be driven by the hospital one more time,” Leetz said.
Malasto was a founding board member for the Porter County Community Foundation, he was president of Rotary and a district governor, he was president of United Way of Porter County, and he was active with the Youth Services Bureau.
He also was president of the Indiana Hospital Association, served on the Blue Cross/Blue Shield Board, and was chairman of the Popcorn Festival, as well as serving as parade marshal, among other activities.
The Malastos, Leetz said, were in South Bend when they saw “an incredible park” and decided they wanted to do the same in Valparaiso, Leetz said. Valplayso became a community effort, designed with the help of the city’s schoolchildren.
“He lived a very full life and he wanted to live it here. He didn’t want to go anywhere else,” Leetz said.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Porter County Community Foundation, the Valparaiso Parks Foundation and VNA Hospice.