Cause of Malone's death clarified

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- Former House Speaker Hugh Malone died after he was knocked down by a wave on a rocky beach and apparently struck his head, not from drowning in a boat accident as was initially reported, his sister said Friday.

Malone's sister, Rosie Murphy, said she spoke Thursday with Malone's wife, Deb Vogt, who was with her husband when the accident occurred.

The couple had gone for a walk on a beach near Riomaggiore, a small fishing village on the west coast of Italy, Murphy said.

''They were standing on rocks, looking around; she said the next thing they knew their feet were wet,'' Murphy told the Juneau Empire. ''The next thing they were hit by another wave and knocked down. She pulled him up, but he must have hit his head. He was in the water just for a second,'' Murphy said, although she added that Vogt did not expressly say Malone had hit his head.

Murphy said it was unlikely Malone could have drowned, since Vogt pulled him from the water immediately.

Malone, one of the creators of the Alaska Permanent Fund, was Speaker of the House in 1977-78 and spent 12 years representing the Kenai Peninsula as a Democrat. He also served as revenue commissioner under Gov. Steve Cowper in the late 1980s.

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