Clifton Maloney was the late husband of Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, who has represented New York in Congress since 1993. She became the first woman chosen to lead the House Oversight Committee in November 2019.
Clifton and Carolyn were married for more than 30 years and had two daughters together. He passed away in 2009 after reaching the summit of a Himalayan peak. He was 71 years old.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Clifton Maloney’s Last Known Words Before Dying in His Sleep Were, ‘I’m the Happiest Man in the World’
Clifton Maloney died on September 25, 2009, at the age of 71 after accomplishing a rare feat: reaching the summit at Cho Oyu Mountain. Located along the border between China and Nepal, it is the sixth-tallest mountain in the world at nearly 27,000 feet above sea level. It’s located a few miles west of Mount Everest.
Maloney had tried to reach this particular summit before, Politico reported at the time. That made his success all the more exciting when he entered the history books as the oldest American to ever climb that high. The climb took nine hours.
Maloney and his climbing companions hiked back down to Base Camp, which was about 23,000 feet up. Family spokesman George Arzt said in a statement that Maloney’s last known words before going to sleep that night were, “I’m the happiest man in the world — I just summitted a beautiful mountain.” He died in his sleep.
Rep. Maloney said of her husband’s sudden passing, “He died doing what he loved.” She said he was an avid climber who went on similar adventures regularly. Maloney had also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Alaska’s Mount McKinley and Mount Rainer in Washington.
2. Clifton Maloney Ran the New York City Marathon 20 Times; He Clocked His Best Personal Time at Age 58
Clifton Maloney was committed to leading a healthy lifestyle and exercising regularly, but he went above and beyond by running the New York City Marathon 20 times. His first race was in 1987, at age 50, when he clocked a time of 4:28:08.
Maloney improved his pace dramatically over the following two years. For his second marathon in 1989, Maloney shaved more than 30 minutes off his time. His best time was in 1999 when he ran the marathon in 3 hours, 23 minutes and 40 seconds. That’s a pace of 7 minutes and 46 seconds per mile.
Maloney’s final race in 2008 at the age of 70. He completed the marathon in just under 4 hours. According to the New York Road Runners website, the race had 38,099 runners that year. Maloney was the 12,744th person to cross the finish line. At age 70, he was faster than two-thirds of the participants! Pretty impressive.
Maloney had planned to run in the 2009 marathon before his passing. One of his daughters and four family friends ran the race relay-style. Virginia Maloney, who ran the final six miles, told the New York Daily News at the time, “It took five of us to do what he could do, and we did it even slower than his time. Every daughter thinks their dad is Superman, but he really was.”
3. Maloney Graduated From Princeton University, Served in the Navy & Then Completed Business School at Harvard
Clifton H. W. Maloney was born on October 15, 1937, in Philadelphia. He was part of the Princeton University class of 1960. He continued to give back to his alma mater during his life and even after his death.
Maloney was active in the Annual Giving campaign. According to a website dedicated to the class of 1960, Maloney didn’t let anything get in the way of his duties as an alumnus. It states that in 2006, he made calls asking for donations to the school while climbing Mount Hood in Washington. Embedded above is a letter Maloney sent on behalf of his graduating class in 2008, explaining why the donations were important. His giving continued after his passing; Maloney’s obituary asked for mourners to donate to the Clifton H.W. Maloney Scholarship Fund at Princeton University instead of sending flowers.
Maloney’s next stop was the U.S. Navy. He served until 1963 and then returned to the classroom. He graduated from Harvard Business School in 1965.
4. Clifton Maloney Had a Successful Career as an Investment Banker & Launched His Own Firm in 1981
Clifton Maloney used his business degree in the financial sector. His workplaces included the City Management Corp, Electronic Bond and Share Company, and New York Securities. Maloney became a vice president at Goldman Sachs in 1974.
Maloney stayed with the firm until 1981, when he decided to venture out on his own. Maloney formed his own investment firm called C.H.W. Maloney & Co., Incorporated in 1981. Politico described Maloney as a multimillionaire. His family has continued to benefit from investments and real estate holdings. Roll Call’s Wealth of Congress Index reports that as of 2018, Carolyn Maloney had an estimated net worth of at least $10 million.
5. Clifton & Carolyn Maloney Had Two Daughters
Clifton and Carolyn Maloney got married in 1976 and had two daughters together, Christina and Virginia. Christina was born in 1980 and appears to still live in the New York City area.
Virginia was born in 1987 and followed in her father’s footsteps, attending Princeton as an undergraduate and Harvard for a master’s degree. She also has an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management, according to her LinkedIn profile, and now works for Facebook.
Rep. Maloney shared a throwback photo to Instagram in 2018 that showed her working with Virginia in her lap. The caption reads in part, “I was the first NYC council member to give birth while in office – here’s me and my daughter Virginia getting some work done together.” A friend commented on the photo, “Stunning. I know why Clif fell in love.”