Malcolm was born on May 8, 1937 in Parma, Ohio to Raymond and Doris Tobey. He graduated as the valedictorian of his class from Weymouth High School near Boston in 1955. He received a bachelor of science degree in physics from Brown University in 1959, and earned a master's and degree in mathematics in 1963 and a Ph.D. in 1966 both from Iowa State University.
From 1966-68, Dr. Tobey worked s a research engineer on aircraft systems design at Autonetics, Co. He then taught mathematics at American University of Beirut from 1969-70, College of Petrology and and Minerals in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia from 1970-71, University Technica Del Estado, Santiago, Chile from 1971-73, and at Simon Bolivar University, Caracas, Venezuela from 1973-74. Dr. Tobey has been a professor of mathematics and computer science at Southwest State University (SSU), Marshall, Minnesota since 1974.
Dr. Tobey was instrumental in spearheading the Science and Mathematics Enrichment Program held at Southwest State University for outstanding high school students in the region. He was interested in creating a love of math in youngsters.
Dr. Tobey was committed to global education and travel. He taught at a school in Thailand during July and August 1989. From April 1992 to September 1993, Dr. Tobey taught at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities campus in Akita, Japan. Upon his return, he served as the representative and negotiator for the Akita campus at the state level for the Inter-Faculty Organization. In 1996, he taught one semester at the Colegio Regional de Puerto Rico in Aguadilla.
Dr. Tobey had recently been elected to serve as the chair of the Academic Affairs Committiee of the Southwest State University Faculty Association. He was planning to participate in a Global Studies Cluster to Puerto Rico next fall.
Malcolm was a committed volunteer with the American Field Service Program (AFS) in Marshall for many years. His hobbies included travel and bridge.
Dr. Tobey died of a heart attack on Sunday, June 14, 1998 at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. Services were held on Saturday, June 20 at the Campus Religious Center at Southwest State University.
The family prefers that memorials be given to the Tobey Garden in care of the SSU Foundation, Southwest State University, Founders Hall 322, Marshall, MN 56258.