MaltaMedia remembers a number of people who passed away during 2004. Their lives made a significant impact on the Maltese way of life.
Tony Mallia was a journalist and media executive who
worked mostly at the service of the Nationalist Party, either in governemnt
or within the party's media structure.
FR. CARMELO ZAMMIT SDB
Fr. Carmelo Zammit was a Salesian priest who held
various positions within the order's pastoral centres in Malta and abroad.
MRO. CARMELO ZAMMIT
Mro Carmelo Zammit was one of Malta's most prolific
composers of early Maltese pop song and religious hymns.
Buttigieg was a footballer whose name was linked to Sliema Wanderers FC
in the 1950s and 60s.
With Sliema Wanderers he won seven championship titles, two Cassar Cup, five Scicluna Cup, three FA Trophies, one MFA League, one Idependence Cup and one Testaferrata Cup. He played several times with the MFA and was a regular player of the RAF.
MRO. PAUL ARNAUD
Paul Arnaud was one of Malta's foremost band leaders
between the 1930s and the 1960s.
Anthony Montanaro was a professional journalist who worked for the Allied Press for most of his career.
He was born in Cospicua on 23 March 1931 and studied at the Lyceum and at the Royal University of Malta. Montanaro joined the editorial staff of Il-Berqa in 1943, where he worked his way up the ranks from Foreign News Editor, and Night Editor, to Assistant Editor and eventually Editor. Between 1958 and 1966 he was the editor of The Sunday Times.
Anthony Montanaro was married to Frances nee' Lautier and together they had five children, Godwin, Alex, Gerald, Alan and Josette.
Frank Portelli was one of three Maltese artists who, in the immediate post-war years, recreated the foundations upon which Maltese Art was to rise again in closer consonance with European sensibility.
He was born in 1922 and at the age of thirteen he started attending the School of Arts in Valletta where he studied under the Caruana Dingli brothers, Edward and Robert During the war years he was drafted into the Royal Air Force and was stationed first at Luqa then at Ta'Kandja. After the war he became involved in the drawing of topographical maps which in the long run served as a basis for his fascination with contours.
In 1947 he distinguished himself among the top students
within his course when he sat for his final examinations at the School
of Art earning himself a scholarship at the Kennington College of Art
in England. On
his return to Malta in 1950 he became a key figure in a fresh, novel and
sometimes daring symbolic artistic expression at a time when Malta was
seeking its own national identity. In 1951 he was elected as the first
secretary of the Modern Art Circle.Their first public appearance as a
body in an exhibition was held at Palazzo de la Salle in 1952.
Frank Portelli married Rosa Attard in June 1952, and
together they had three children, Henri, Simone, and Sharonne.
Victor Galdes was one of Malta's foremost post-war radio producers and broadcasters.
He was born in Valletta on 6 May 1923 and studied
at St Augustine College in Valletta. Galdes started performing in plays
at a young age, while he was a member of the Catholic Action and the Society
for Christian Doctrine.
Victor Galdes was one of Malta's most sought-after event presenters. He hosted the Miss Malta contest thirteen times. Galdes was also a popular actor, forming part of the Stage Commandos Company and playing Victor the Butcher in Charles Clews' comedy classic Karmena Abdilla.
He retired officially in 1984, but continued to present programmes on radio and television for some years after that.
Victor Galdes was married to Pauline nee' Buttigieg.
Charles Arrigo was the bestman at their wedding. Victor and Pauline had
one child, Albert, who also established himself in the local broadcasting
and entertainment scene.
Ġużi Mallia was a prolific author and celebrated children's broadcaster known as In-Nannu Peppu.
Born in Hamrun on 21 June 1917, Ġużi Mallia studied at St Albert Central School. He was awarded the Senior Oxford certificate in 1935 and started working as a telephone operator and Assistant Protection Officer.
After spending a number of years working as a clerk, Mallia joined the Information Office in 1958 as a script-writer and later as Information Officer. He worked at the Department of Information until 1976. He was praised by the Governor of Malta on the Government Gazette dated 1 February 1944, for his sterling service.
Mallia became a contributing writer and broadcaster
with Redifussion in 1951, producing and presenting children's programmes
for a quarter of a century. He wrote various radio serials, documentaries
and short stories. He also published a number of books.
Arthur Podesta was an exceptionally well-known figure in waterpolo, swimming and sailing circuits.
Born on 27 December 1928, Podesta was the winner of many honours and protagonist of countless local sporting contests as the ever faithful Neptunes stalwart. He will perhaps be best remembered as a member of Malta's waterpolo team during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games. He was the last surviving member of that squad, which also included his brother Wilfred. During that Olympics Malta played Britain (2-8), gold-medalists Hungary (0-12) and Yugoslavia (0-7).
Podesta was one of the athletes who carried the flag
during the opening ceremony of the Games for the Small States of Europe
at the Ta' Qali National Stadium in 2003. He was known to those closest
to him as "Babsie".
Willie Apap was a Sports Entrepreneur who was most active in the town of Gzira.
Apap was born in Valletta on 16 April 1919. From a very young age he started following different sport events. He was a committee member of the Ta' Xbiex Waterpolo Club, the Valletta United Waterpolo Club, the National Sportsmen of the Year, the Malta Boxing Association and the Malta Pool Association.
He organized a number of popular competitions, including canoe races, football games, tug-of-wars, professional wrestling matches and athletics. Willie Apap also organized the popular Strong Man Acts and endurance swimming challenges, during which, Albert Rizzo and Alfred Kitcher broke world records. He also introduced American Poll (the 8-Ball Game) in Malta.
Although he was born in Valletta, Willie Apap spent
most of his life in Gzira. He was one of the founders of Gzira United
FC and was appointed Honorary Club President in 1990. He was also a member
of the Gzira Local Council.
KAN. DR. AMANTE BUONTEMPO
Dr Amante Buontempo was a Canon and a poet.
He was born at Senglea on 15 October 1920, and studied at the Lyceum, the Archbishop's Seminary, the Gozo Seminary, the Royal University of Malta, the University of Nottingham and at universities in Rome, from where he obtained his doctoral degrees, including a cum laude in Canon Law and Civil Law.
He was ordained priest in 1946. He taught at the Archbishop's Seminary and held a number of important posts within Malta's Archdiocese. He was the Parliament's chaplain between 1962 and 1971.
An avid writer in Maltese, English and Italian, Canon Buontempo published numerous books and poetry anthologies, including Ġejt Imsejjah (1967), Irbaħt (1968), Si Vis pacem Cane Semper (1973), Wishful Thoughts (1975), Lacrime di Speranza (1977), Echi di Sdegno (1981) and Rhythmical Reactions (1981). He was also the founder and first president of the Għaqda tal-Poeti (Poets' Union).
Dr Buontempo participated in the second and third
World Poets Congress held in Formosa (1973) and Baltimore (1976). He also
took part in the San Francisco congress in 1981, where he was awarded
the 'Poet Laureate' from the World Academy of Art and Culture.
Joe Aquilina was a footballer associated with Sliema Wanderers FC, mostly in the 1960s.
Born in Sliema on 21 July 1943, Aquilina started playing football at a very young age and made his debut with Sliema Wanderers in the 1959-1960 season. He played fourteen seasons for Sliema Wanderers and won four championship titles, three FA trophies, two Xmas Cup, a Sons of Malta Cup, three Independence Cup, a Testaferrata Cup and one MFA League.
He played 152 championship games, 64 local cup matches and 18 European cup games. Aquilina wore the national football shirt for two friendly matches, four international tournaments and for one game with the MFA XI.
After he stopped playing Aquilina coached Qormi FC,
Zurrieq, Pembroke Athletics, Zebbug Rangers and Gzira United.
Mario Ellul was an active singer and television producer between the early 1980s and the end of his life.
He was born on 8 September 1963 and studied at the De La Salle College and at the New Lyceum. During his studies at the New Lyceum he joined Xandir Malta as a student worker, becoming a full-time producer-director soon after. At Xandir Malta, Ellul produced and directed some of the most innovative Maltese programs and TV shows, including Arzella and Mill-Garaxx.
In the early 1990s Mario Ellul left Xandir Malta and
joined BPC where he was responsible for the building of a new TV studio
in Hamrun for Audiovision, a subsidiary of BPC. While at BPC, he also
attended a TCV Direction Course in London.
He worked as a committee member of Maltasong, organizers of the Malta Song for Europe Festival, bringing his professional skills in stage management and television direction to good use.
His death from heart failure at such a young age prompted many tributes, including one by his former colleague Toni Sant, which is available online. [click here to read it now]
Mario Ellul was married to Grace and together thay had one child, Daniel.
Maggie Borg was a pioneering Maltese activist for environmental and social rights.
She was born in Kalkara on 14 January 1952 to Carmel and Cettina nee' Camilleri. She was the second of their 10 children, the eldest daughter. She attended Cospicua Public School and later worked as a tourist guide. Borg married at a young age, becoming very supportive of her close friends and younger members of the family after her own marriage broke down.
After living in Naxxar and Mosta, drifting between jobs with various companies, including Good Earth, she settled down in Zebbug and started studying once more after a gap of more than 25 years away from school. In 1993 she graduated with a degree in Sociology & Environmental Studies from the University of Malta. Subsequently she started teaching senior classes in her area of expertise at San Anton School. She was best known to her students as a kind, different and serene teacher who taught through her experience, especially in their live-ins.
She used to share all she had whether materialistic
items or her incredibly vast knowledge on anything, from weaving wool
and making her own little cottage industry, however this did not last
long, as she used to give away most of her woven items, instead of selling
them for a profit.
Maggie was a keen member of the Greenpeace movement and also traveled to other countries campaigning causes she believed in quite strongly.
She lost her battle against cancer at the age of 52, after fighting the disease for almost ten years.
Vince Laus was a popular country music radio DJ.
Born in St Julians on 1 January 1945, Laus fell in love with country music when he was still a teenager. He moved to England in 1963, where he was able to follow country music more closely. He lived in the UK for 12 years, during which time he started to build his country music collection and also served as the Beach Boys Fan Club secretary.
When Vince returned to Malta in the late 1970s he wanted to make country music more popular amongst the Maltese. In October 1978, he launched the Country Music Appreciation Society, which had over 200 members at the time of his death. The CMAS lives on under the direction of co-founder Daphne Stevenson, Vince's wife.
Laus started broadcasting on the Libyan-Maltese radio
station, Leħen il-Ħbiberija u Solidarjeta (Voice of Friendship
and Solidarity), presenting a country music show. However, he took on
a higher profile when he joined Super 1 Radio in August 1991. Later he
also produced shows for Super 1 TV.
Vince Laus married 21 September 1969 after they were introduced to each other by British DJ Robbie Dale, following a public radio announcement that Vince was looking for "a friend". They had two children, Sherri and Duane.
Louis Naudi was a versatile percussionist who died at a young age after a long illness. He had been active in the Maltese music scene since the early 1980s, when he played drums with the rock band Fog. Later he also played with the Voices band and the Acoustika trio, among others.
JOE ZAMMIT CORDINA
Joe Zammit Cordina was a popular character actor.
He was born in Hamrun on 29 September 1929 and studied at the Seminary and the Lyceum. In 1949 he obtained the Oxford School Certificate and proceeded to attend St Michael's Training College and started teaching soon afterwards. He also worked as a scriptwriter at the Central Office of Information and at the Department of Information.
He studied educational broadcasting at the Centre for Educational Television Overseas in London. After the three-month course in London, he returned to Malta where he joined the Education Department as Education Welfare Officer. He duties included editing the monthly magazine The Young Listener.
Zammit Cordina started acting in 1944. Twenty years later he founded his company Malta Talent Artists, which was often entrusted with recruiting Maltese extras to appear in foreign films shot in Malta. In 1978 he started publishing the magazine Pepprin, a series of photo-novels, with titles like Harry Born's Is-Salib tal-Fidda and Ġuże Ellul Mercer's Leli ta' Ħaż-Żgħir proving to be huge popular successes.
Zammit Cordina took part in numerous radio and television programmes aired on Redifussion, Xandir Malta and some of today's main Maltese TV stations. He featured on a number of Malta-shot films, including Eyewitness, Pulp and Midnight Express, where he also uttered a few short sentences in Maltese, playing the part of a Turkish customs officer.
He was also a painter and his works can be found in private households and church sacristies around Malta. Between 1998 and 2002 he was the Mayor of Hamrun. He was married to Mary Yvonne and had two children.
Publius Micallef was a recording engineer with Radio Malta.
His name was known to all regular listeners of Maltese radio because he was one of a handful of professional recorders who took charge of balancing most of the radio programmes recorded for Maltese listeners.
Ġuźeppi Schembri, known as It-Trioplin, was a mainstay for Floriana FC for almost sixty years, as well as the national football team.
He was born in Balzunetta at Floriana on 9 May 1921, and was attracted to the game from a very early age. In the early 1930s The Greens had a formidable team and Guzeppi, like many other youngsters from Floriana, was easily attracted to the game.At the age of 18 he became Florianas official kit-manager. After that, his name was forever linked with that of Floriana F.C. Many Floriana old-timers still remember Guzeppi playing the bugle whenever the Ajaxs were playing. In rare moments when the team was struggling, Giuzeppis bugel call would revive the players and spur them on to greater efforts.
When SK Hajduks toured the Island in 1944, the MFA found itself in a spot. Because of the war, the MFA did not have a set of jerseys to use against the visitors, Luckily for them, Ġuźeppi came to the rescue. During the war he served in the 3rd Battalion KOMR and since he was still in uniform he borrowed a set of jerseys from his regiment and loaned them to the MFA. This was the start of a long and happy association with the National Team. From that day on, he became the MFAs Official Kit-Manager, until his retirement in 1992. Carmelo Gauci, known as "Il-Busby" succeeded Ġuźeppi who gladly passed on his knowledge about all the players problems and their individual sizes.
He was presented with an award in recognition of his work during UEFA's annual Gala in Monaco in August 2002. The award, known as The Magnificent 7, was also presented to six personalities coming from France, Denmark, Belgium, Austria, Spain and Sweden. His nomination was accepted by UEFA following the personal recommendation of the Malta Football Association President Dr. Joseph Mifsud.
Ġuźeppi was married to Maria and together they had seven children: Marlene, Charles, Jennifer, Stephen, Raymond, Patrick, and Shelley.
Remiğ Sacco was a sports journalist and writer who worked mostly within the Workers' Movement.
He was born in Zurrieq on 13 May 1922 to Leonard
Sacco u Francesa nee' Ellul. As a young boy he attended the local primary
school and later studied at the Lyceum, De La Salle College, and the Dockyard
Technical College, where he acquire diplomas in Electrical Draughtsmanship
(1958) u Engineering Design (1968). Sacco work at the Dockyard for 25
years, mostly as an Electrical Draughtsman.
Mario Axiaq, Pierre J. Mejlak, Remo Mifsud and Toni Sant contributed to this page.