A Family Affair with Richard and Ann Malotky
By Jon Lewis
Doctors in the House
By Jon Lewis
Photos by Jeannine Hendrickson
It was a toasty 118 degrees on that Fourth of July day in 1985 when Richard and Ann Malotky rolled into Redding in a U-Haul with their 6-month-old son, Max. Ann’s first act as a Redding resident was to burst into tears.
Richard’s first act was to fetch his fly rod from the back of the rental truck and walk over to the nearby Sacramento River. With his first cast, Ann says he hooked a 17-inch rainbow trout. “He came back and said ‘Ann, this is why we moved here.’”
Now a veteran of Redding’s warm summer days, Ann laughs as she recalls that day. Redding, with its July scorchers and big river going through the middle of town, is where the Malotkys happily call home. “We decided to move here because we love the outdoors,” she says. “All the fishing, canoeing, kayaking, hiking … that’s why we moved to Redding; we both fell in love with the Sacramento River.”
The Malotkys also share a passion for health care. Richard has been a family care physician for the past 30 years; Ann has been a dentist since 1982. The healing arts run in the family: their son Max, 31, is a plastic and reconstructive surgeon who will complete his residency next summer in Dayton, Ohio; their daughter Kimberly, 28, is a dentist with a practice in Ventura.
For Ann, dentistry is a family affair. Her father was a dentist and she could tell he enjoyed his work. She recalls sitting by his side and watching in fascination as he poured dental crowns for his patients.
As she readied for college, she considered a career in nursing, “but the more I thought about it, and considering my personality, I wanted to be the one making the decisions.” Her dental practice also allowed for some flexibility to spend more time at home when her children were young.
In Richard’s case, both his father and grandfather were Lutheran ministers in Hopkins, Minn., so his interest in medicine was piqued in part by his mother, who was a nurse, and by the doctors who treated him after a nasty motorcycle accident he was involved in as a high school junior.
“They put me back together pretty well and I thought that was pretty neat,” Richard says.
Richard enrolled in nearby St. Olaf College and he met Ann on the first day of class. An Orange County native, Ann says her father pointed her toward the small liberal arts college even though she had set her sights on UC Santa Barbara, some 2,000 miles closer.
As their relationship grew, Ann laughs as she recalls informing her native Minnesotan boyfriend that she had no interest in enduring the scrutiny that would ensue if she became a minister’s wife. It is unclear how much that swayed Richard, but he did find himself running with a crowd of chemistry and biology majors and ultimately enrolling in the University of Minnesota’s medical school.
Ann, too, pursued her degree at Minnesota’s dental school. Recently married and with a year of Richard’s medical school left, the two traveled west on their summer break for a honeymoon on Shasta Lake in Ann’s parents’ houseboat. Mixing in some backpacking in the Trinity Alps Wilderness and a climb to the top of Mt. Shasta further reinforced the idea that the North State would make a fine place to call home.
In 1985, following Richard’s three-year residency in Milwaukee, the young family packed up their 1970 sky blue Cadillac DeVille (purchased for $1,000 and cherished until a rusted undercarriage spelled its demise) and headed to Redding.
After settling in next to the river, the Malotkys piloted their two children through St. Joseph School, St. Francis Middle School and Bishop Quinn High School and note with pride that both received college scholarships: Max at Gonzaga University in Spokane and Kim at Santa Clara University. Each sailed through college in three and a half years with degrees in biochemistry.
Richard began his family care practice at the Redding Family Medical Group on Airpark Drive while Ann set up shop on Eureka Way. In 2011, the two combined forces and opened Summit Medical & Dental Arts at 1800 Buenaventura Blvd.
“We threw out a lure to see if our kids would come back,” Richard says of the state-of-the-art facility. “The verdict is still out on if they will come back or not,” Ann says. In the meantime, having a doctor and a dentist under the same roof has its benefits. “Surprisingly, it works really great. I can pester him whenever I want,” Ann says.