Thank You For Honoring Cleve Through Your Support

Cleve Holding Fish

I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to all of those who gave to The Angel Fund in memory of my son Cleve Malmstrom. He was always supporting those less fortunate or struggling in life; Cleve would be honored by your kindness to help children in need.

Cleve was a gifted young man that loved Montana and the great outdoors; especially fly fishing! The Missouri River (“The Mighty Mo”) was his favorite river spending days rafting and camping along the shore each summer catching beautiful rainbow trout only to release for another day! I know that Cleve found peace, tranquility and a spiritual connection on the river. He died on the river he loved and his spirit will live on through your memorial and remembering a “life worth livin!”

I loved my son’s kind heart towards children, those in need and especially animals. I am forever grateful for your loving expression of sympathy.

Marcia K. Wall
President & Founder

A Remembrance From Your Mom
Cleve and Marcia

Cleve was born around 7:30 p.m. on a Saturday night in June. I always called him my “Saturday night special.” He weighed in at a whopping 9 lbs. 12 oz. and was 24” long! His doctor was of small stature and when he brought him over to me ~ he looked like Paul Bunyan’s baby boy!

He was a wonderful baby; always smiling and laughing! He adored and loved his sister Monique and followed her everywhere! She taught him everything she learned in school at an early age so by the time he arrived in kindergarten 2 years later, he felt he knew more than his teacher! There were a few tense moments that year, but the Principal said he was so bored that he took several classes in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade to maintain his attention. Cleve was a highly intelligent child full of abundant energy, tons of laughter, always a twinkle in his eye and had a smile for everyone he knew.

Through grade school/middle school, Cleve enjoyed Small Fry Football; thus beginning his love of the sport! The Helena High Bengals were playing one of the Missoula teams his senior year and Mike and I were attending a Ducks Unlimited banquet in Helena. Steve the auctioneer thought I was bidding on all kinds of items because Cleve made 4 touchdowns in a row and I kept raising my arms and jumping up and down with joy! He finally announced to the audience what was going on and everyone cheered! It was a great moment! While attending a District track meet (later his senior year), it was snowing so hard that when Cleve ran the last leg of the 400, he was lost on the Vigilante track and we couldn’t tell where he was. I believe they won that day in a spring snow storm! When Cleve caught the football and ran it in for a touchdown for the Grizzlies, he didn’t hear the cannon fire but heard my voice over the crowd! I about lost my mind that day . . . so excited and proud!

When I see a sunrise against the eastern sky, I always think of Cleve watching the same spectacular display on the river frying up some bacon & eggs for a day on the river. When the sun sets against the mountains, I know that Cleve had a full day of peace, tranquility and experienced a spiritual day inside his tent with his faithful companions Syd and Deuce. He loved the outdoors and was more comfortable in a tent or on a raft than sitting inside his house. I think it was difficult for him to sit still that long . . .

How do I sum up 42 years of life? All I know is that Cleve and I shared a special bond as mother and son that will never be broken. I was so sad and immobile last Friday when he passed away and didn’t know why until midnight that evening when we found out what happened that evening. I somehow knew something was wrong and was overwhelmed with emotion and understood later why my heart was beating uncontrollably.

He wasn’t like me in some ways; not terribly organized, he loved the earth and didn’t mind a little dirt on the inside either and wasn’t a fan of fancy clothes, furnishings or hair products! He had beautiful brown wavy hair that he usually buzzed off the moment it looked stylish! He loved the simple way of life and a little clutter was okay and stained wrinkled clothes were more real! Muddy dog prints gave his floor a better pattern. What he cherished was his fly fishing gear, flies, rods/reels and raft. Those were all top of the line and perfectly tucked away in original cases. He has a beautiful set of golf clubs and played at Whitefish Lake on June 9, texted “Played some decent golf today; had a 320 yard bomb on 18. Walked the whole round . . . felt good!”

For those of you who knew Cleve . . . you’re lucky enough and for all of the people in his life that loved him, his spirit will be with you always. I thank you for loving him and being a part of his life journey. He was challenging, thoughtful but loving at the same time. He was intense and gentle; his loyalty and kindness were steadfast.

“I love you momma like crazy,” would be his text on any given day. His loving spirit will sustain me. So many memories and special moments to remember the rest of my life . . . I see his face everywhere I look and my heart aches but I know he is at peace and I will see him again. He is my guardian angel! Thank you for coming today to honor Cleve and to share your stories and memories of a “life worth livin’.” I’m simply overwhelmed by your prayers, blessings and words. Thank you! I love his soul! I love his laugh! He was my son and it’s been my honor and privilege to be his Mom! I love you like crazy, too Clever! God Bless you Clever and I pray for our Heavenly Father to embrace you for eternity. I’ve been asking Him for years to keep you safe and I know you’re in His embrace. I’ll be looking at the moon, but I will be seeing you!

As read at Cleve’s Memorial Service on June 25, 2014

Cleve Anthony Malmstrom
Cleve Anthony Malmstrom

Cleve A. Malmstrom of Whitefish, Montana drowned while fly fishing on the Missouri River near Craig, Montana on a beautiful summer evening June 20, 2014 at almost age 42. Cleve was born June 24, 1972 in Billings, Montana to Marcia K. Wall and Donald N. Malmstrom Jr. He attended grade school in Rosebud, Gardiner and Helena; graduating from Helena High in 1990. He played football, basketball and ran track as a little kid and became an outstanding running back for the Bengals during his high school years. He also ran track all 4 years at HHS. Cleve went on to play college football for the Grizzlies for three years at the University of Montana. Oh yes, and his favorite team was the Pittsburgh Steelers! You could hear his yells above the rest when his Steelers were winning! His college years at UM were filled with sports, becoming a resident assistant and a tutor in math. Cleve majored in Pre-Physical Therapy, Exercise Science and a minor in Psychology. He also was the cadaver lab attendant for two years helping teach anatomy to other students. Cleve was a gifted student and talented athlete throughout his life!

After leaving UM, he pursued a career as an assistant golf pro and caddy; earning his PGA with ease! He worked at different golf courses throughout Oregon, Arizona and California. His favorite was Bandon Dunes in Oregon! He was an excellent teacher of golf technique! “Cradle the club like a baby; not a death grip Mom!”

Montana was always calling him home whereby he returned to the Flathead area in his 30’s and never left again. He was somewhat of a “gypsy” but maintained a home either in Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Eureka or Kalispell. He loved the mountains but especially the blue ribbon fly fishing streams! Last year he floated his raft along with his faithful companions Deuce and Sydney (his labs), 350 miles of Montana Rivers! His favorite was the “Mighty Mo” Missouri which he enjoyed fishing as a young boy that turned into a life-long adventure each summer!

Heroics ~ Cleve performed CPR on a heart attack victim in Missoula while attending college to save his life before paramedics arrived. On a vacation to Maui, he saved a young mother and baby trapped in a car while rising waters threatened them during a flash flood. He earned his wings many times. He was also gentle and kind to animals and saved many furry friends along his life journey. He loved animals more than humans and that was perfectly okay.

He did experience true love during high school, college and beyond but was always searching for the perfect outdoorsy woman that was a scratch golfer and enjoyed fly fishing and floating the Montana Rivers 350+ miles each summer! Well, hello?

Cleve lived life the way he wanted . . . his way! He worked hard at dealing cards in the Flathead so he could fly fish the next few weeks! It was a good life and he felt at peace with the rivers of Montana. “The Mighty Mo rocks my world,” is Cleve’s quote two weeks ago after fishing the Missouri for 3 days! “Heading to the Sun River next Thursday, can’t wait! I love Wolf Creek to Augusta/Cascade Triangle. It’s possibly the nicest land in America; had to be a lot of dinosaurs that lived in Craig.” His last text on June 17: “I’m pretty sure I’m on the Montana State fly fishing All Stars! Possibly U.S. or world too, but going pro would ruin it for me like Bobby Jones for golf! Not about the money, it’s about who really wants to be out here. The Sun River made me cry; it was so amazing! Thought about Jon and how his ashes were there. How much talent he had and how beautiful the land is! It overtakes your body. There were four waterfalls and all kinds of rapids! When it’s too hardcore for me, you know it’s the real deal! Great river momma!”

I will miss you more than words can express and I know you’re teaching fly fishing to someone that needed your help in Heaven! Shakespeare wrote “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Cleve gave his gift of fly fishing and golf to many who were part of his teaching journey and loved fiercely those who were in his inner circle. I thank my son for touching my life in a way that no one will ever do. He was a joy, had a great laugh and sense of humor along with an enormous heart! Cleve was highly intelligent and had a deep faith that wasn’t shared unlike his opinions on all subject matters!

Cleve is survived by his mother Marcia Wall, his stepfather Mike Wall of Canyon Creek and father Donald N. Malmstrom Jr. of Salem, Oregon. He leaves behind his sister Monique Malmstrom Bertram and his three nephews Cole, Kaden and Trey Bertram of Beaverton, Oregon and stepbrother Kevin Wall of Marysville. He has many wonderful aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins and close friends that will miss him forever! He was preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents, his great grandmother Betty, favorite Uncle Jon Malmstrom and his beloved chocolate lab Mocha (mother to 10 puppies that he raised by himself), Abner the toughest black lab that ever lived with 3 legs and Charlotte his yellow lab!

We would like to thank all those that assisted in recovering Cleve, his raft and black lab Syd and Deuce from the Missouri River especially Deputy Cascade Coroner Bob (Wojo) and Randy Wilke and staff at Anderson Stevenson Wilke for their kind assistance. Thank you to all his teachers, coaches and professors that instilled his competitive nature and thirst for knowledge! In lieu of flowers, his family requests memorials sent to Angel Fund, P.O. Box 7436, Helena, MT 59604. Cleve’s ashes will be spread on the “Mighty Mo” near Pelican Point at a later date. He will live on in our hearts forever! As stated by his cousin, “Go catch a fish and experience the joy that Cleve knew.”

I loved you more Clever! xo