Sten Malmquist 1920–2015

Sten Malmquist was born in 1920 and died in 2015. He was born in Malmö but subsequently moved to Tomelilla when he was just a year old.

Bild på Sten Malmquist

His father (Olof Malmquist) was employed as an accountant at the Tomelilla yeast factory. The family lived in the second house on the right on Adelsbergsvägen, in one of the “wise-men-houses”, which were houses built specifically for the officials working at the yeast factory. Sten’s family consisted of his father Olof Gustaf Fritjof Karl Malmqvist, his mother Gertrud Viktoria Charlotta, neé Åkesson, and his sister Ulla Viktoria Gertrud (later Omander). His father was a skilled rower in Malmö rowing club and was part of the team that won the Nordic Championships and the Langebro Cup in 1915.

Malmqvist grew up and finished school in Tomelilla. One of his friends during childhood and his school years was Truls Andrén, whose father Yngve Andrén was a local ironmonger but also known as the patron of many young artist. The Andrén home is where Malmqvist first developed an interest in art. Malmqvist’s first employment was as a bank clerk in Tomelilla. In 1943 he moved to Trelleborg for a job at Trelleborgs Gummifabrik AB. He advanced within the company group, and his work brought him to live in places like Stockholm and then Basel. Before leaving Sweden, he met his future wife Gladys (Pat). His finished his career in 1984 as the company’s chief financial officer in the London office.

When the Malmqvists had moved to England, which was Gladys’ homeland, and settled in London, the couple bought a small summer home in Sandbanks on the south coast of England. Sandbanks later became their permanent home, and this is where Malmqvist spent the remainder of his life. His wife died due to illness (cancer) in 1999.

Towards the end of his life, Malmqvist devoted a lot of time to his favourite hobby, amateur radio. He was a member of the Poole Radio Society, where he got to put his excellent knowledge of Morse code communication to use. Before he had a permanent radio antenna mounted on his house, he could often be spotted along the coast, sitting in his Renault with an antenna on the roof. The best reception was always found by the sea, and for this reason the amateur radio society would also meet at the illustrious Haven hotel, which is located right on the coast. Using the Morse alphabet, Malmqvist could talk to people all over the world, which allowed him to make friends and develop his skills.

Malmqvist was also a devoted yachtsman and often made excursions around the islands off Sandbanks, which were close enough for day trips in his little sailboat.

Malmqvist had a great interest in literature, arts and classical music. He was not a collector, but enjoyed visiting art exhibitions, etc. The composer closest to his heart was the Italian Mantovani and his favourite piece was Charmaine from 1958.

Sten and Pat Malmqvist had no children and thus no biological heirs. Even though Malmqvist had not lived in Sweden in decades, he followed the development in Sweden and in Tomelilla. An anecdote told by his closest friends Gerry and Pauline Smith is how Malmqvist once shook hands with HM King Carl XVI Gustaf in England during a state visit by the latter.

His friends describe him as a man of great integrity and resolve. A man with a lot of character who was often seen out and about in the community for example on his daily walk through Sandbanks and in social contexts like the amateur radio society and the local sports club.

Sten Malmqvist passed away quietly, surrounded by his friends and listening to his favourite piece Charmaine.

Recorded by Kristin Svensson, Head of the Culture and Libraries Unit, and Désirée Lennklo, Curator at Tomelilla Konsthall.