Keith & Keith Funeral Home
Everyone who listened or danced to Al Maletta’s accordion and keyboard music were awed by his talent, but most of all by his friendship. He was as dependable as a mountain and as generous with his gifts as a forest waterfall. When he walked into a room, everybody smiled because Al was present and the party could begin.
Al Maletta was born at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital on March 18, 1947 to Al Maletta, Sr. and Yolanda Ferri Maletta.
He was baptized and made his first Holy Communion at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, then attended the lower grades at St. Joseph’s Grade School. Following his graduation from Marquette High School in 1965, he completed his associate degree from Yakima Valley Community College.
In 1967, Al enlisted with the United States Air Force and served as a sergeant in Viet Nam and Korea until his honorable discharge in 1971. Upon his return to Yakima, Al attended classes at Central Washington University where he received a Bachelor of Arts in music and history.
Al taught accordion and guitar lessons for Maletta-Deccio Music, which was a partnership between his father, Al Maletta Sr. and Bob Deccio, both professional accordionists.
Al and Bing Holm, a close family friend and local musician, formed a band initially called The New Variations in the early 1970s, then they renamed the band in the 1980s, Yakima’s Variations, creating a new sound when Al began playing the Hammond organ.
Dec. 31, 1985, Al met Kay Kemper Weaver when she came in to Stereocraft, where he worked, to look for a stereo system. Victor was helping her first and then he got a call. Al took over helping her. He was going to play music for a Parents without Partners party that evening and his musician friends were anxious for him to come and set up. “Hmm, who is this blonde that is taking up his time?” Anyway, after she purchased a wonderful sound system for her home and came back in to purchase another set of speakers, he shyly asked her out to lunch and the rest is history. They were married May 24, 1986. They enjoyed yearly vacations to California to attend the Great Western Southern Gospel Music Festivals and also enjoyed their coastal trips.
He and Kay owned and operated Audioplus, selling custom designed home stereo systems. Victor Archibald was their one treasured employee.
Al also played music with Sweetwater, a local band. After connecting with Larry La Riviere, a local Frenchman, Al became the voice of South Louisiana on his accordion when The Bayou Boys played mostly Cajun music around the Yakima Valley at festivals, fairs and wineries. Al also played tunes on CDs that were inserted in four books written by Susan La Riviere.
Al and Bob Homan were a popular duo, who played classic tunes such as: “Five Foot Two-Eyes Of Blue” and “You Are My Sunshine” at local retirement and nursing homes. The songs often brought a tear or sparkle to the eyes of residents who remembered their youth from Al and Bobby’s music. His God-given musical talent lifted everyone’s spirits.
Al also played numerous venues such as Oktober fests, Italian celebrations in Walla Walla, private Christmas parties as well as parties at The Elks. For years, the evening party crowds danced to his music at The American Legion, the VFW and the Eagles.
Al was a very versatile musician and could play many styles of music. He was a virtuoso on the accordion and was passionate about playing the Hammond organ. He generously donated his beloved Hammond organ to The Greater Faith Baptist Church to honor Mitch Weary.
Al will be missed playing his accordion for all family functions. His Italian-Catholic heritage and Italian food were very important to him. His musician friends became his adopted family and were a big part of his world. Music was his way of life.
On October 7, 2020 at age seventy-three, Al’s wife was faithfully by his side as he peacefully passed away at the Cottage in the Meadow in Yakima, Washington from complications of several strokes.
The family would like to thank Breanna Clark-Burdette for her loving care while he was hospitalized from Sept. 16-30, 2020 at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital in Yakima.
A very special thank you and much gratitude to Velda Welch, a friend who came to the Malettas’ home and sang with Al while he played his accordion.
The family wants to thank Cottage in the Meadow for their compassionate and loving care.
Kay would like to thank Ellen and JoAnn for their efforts in facilitating Al’s admission to Cottage in the Meadow.
Al was preceded in death by his parents.
He is survived by Kay Maletta, his wife of thirty-four years.
Al is also survived by his sisters: Beverly Maletta Arralde (Joe) and Mary Kay Maletta Anabtawi (Jamil), his nieces: Barbara Berg (Gary), Cathy Kloster (Richard), Michele Tetreault (Robert) and Angela Arralde-Millar (Rob), his nephews: Joseph Arralde (Noreen), Michael Arralde (Dorie), Jalal and Albert Anabtawi, as well as numerous great nieces, nephews, cousins and many friends.
The family would like to thank everyone who has shown love and support during this difficult time.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to Cottage in the Meadow or the charity of your choice.
Viewing will be Monday-Tuesday, October 12-13 from 4-8 PM at Keith & Keith Funeral Home in Yakima.
There will be a private Vigil for family only on Friday, October 16.
Sadly, due to COVID-19, the type of celebration the family would like to have of Al’s life is not possible.
There will be a Mass of Christian Burial, Saturday, October 17 at 10 AM at St. Paul Cathedral in Yakima for family only.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be live streamed at 10 AM for those of you who would like to view the service. You may access www.facebook.com/stpaulcathedralyakima for the live stream.
Burial will take place immediately following the Mass at Calvary Cemetery in Yakima, Washington with Military Honors. In order to honor Al at a family and friends gathering, the family plans to have a Celebration of Al’s Life in 2021.
Al, we’ll remember you when we’ve forgotten all the rest. To us, you were true. To us, you were the best. May you be carried to Heaven by angels into God’s warm embrace.