April 15, 2014

Wally High—1943-2013 Memorial Service, March 16

 

PHOTO COURTESY HERB ENGELHARDT

Wally High—1943-2013 Memorial Service, March 16

Wally High was a well known musician in Topanga for many years.

I (Herb Engelhardt) first met Wally High at Topanga Beach in the spring of 1975. Topanga was a free beach at the time and he was playing guitar and singing with a friend. Without a word, I took out my mandolin and joined in. Only after a couple of tunes did we introduce ourselves. So began a nearly four-decade friendship that ended with his passing February 20 in San Felipe, Baja, California, where he resided for the last year or two.

Wally was raised in the Valley but gravitated to Topanga after serving in the Navy. He was educated in social sciences and spent some years as a probation officer working primarily with youth.

But his first love was music (well, perhaps second, as he would admit with a wink and a Groucho Marx flick of an imaginary cigar). “Playing music...it's the most fun I ever had with my clothes on.” We played the first fundraiser for Children’s Corner as “The Topanga Dads,” but Emcee Randy commented that we should be grateful for the opportunity and renamed us “The Grateful Dads.”

Wally High was a prolific songwriter, singer, guitarist, and piano man. He was also a carpenter, and a jack of many, many trades, and a father, husband and friend.

He is survived by his son "Little" Wally High, and his wife Deborah Lindquist. Not without faults, as he was in fact human after all, he struggled as we all do. But if one is to look at the worth and wealth of a person on balance, he was a musician and a joker at heart and what he gave us through that will be his legacy and a fine one at that. A memorial gathering is planned for Saturday, March 16, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Community House Ballfield stage. Please bring a dish to share, stories to tell and instruments to play to celebrate the life of our friend.