Douglas Rodney (Rod) Malone died unexpectedly on August 31. Malone was highly respected in the boating industry as the founder of Sail & Ski in Austin, Texas. Malone grew the business to include other Texas locations in San Antonio and Lakeway, and Sail & Ski Yacht Club and Sundancer Grill on Lake Travis. The company, voted as a number one dealership by Boating Industry magazine, employs more than 100 employees.
Born in 1940 in Jacksboro, Texas, Malone moved to Austin after high school and graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from the University of Texas. He married his high-school sweetheart, Wanda Faye Kay, in 1960. Wanda passed away six weeks ago.
Malone pursued a career in electrical engineering, eventually starting his own company in the early 1970s. His inventions were awarded utility patents.
After a weekend of sailing on Lake Travis, Malone was smitten with the sport and began sailing competitively. Malone started to work with a local sailboat dealer called Sailing Imports, becoming partner after a year, and eventually bought the business. When it started to handle snow sports, it was renamed Sail & Ski.
Malone was credited with a “can-do” attitude that propelled the business upward into a leading U.S. dealership. He was fond of saying: ‘If the horse bucks you off, get back on, always.”
Malone was most proud of his family’s involvement in the business. Wanda and Rod worked side by side for nearly 40 years, and their son, Doug, joined at an early age. Daughter Tammy also joined the family business, eventually becoming its head of human relations.
Malone is survived by Doug, Tammy and daughter Holly, and four grandchildren. Here is a complete obituary.