Frederic Vincent Malek
Entrepreneur, Financier, Army Ranger, philanthropist, humanitarian, business leader and advisor to presidents, Frederic Vincent Malek died Sunday in McLean, Virginia. He was 82.
Malek, or “Fred,” as he was known to many, lived a vigorous life full of purpose and his achievements spanned across multiple sectors of the American fabric. He was fueled and guided by principles learned at his alma mater (West Point). He exemplified the West Point motto “Duty Honor Country,” treated people with kindness, and conducted himself with unmatched integrity often quoting West Point’s Cadet prayer urging others to always “choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”
An innovator, activist and influencer in national politics for more than fifty years, he was a counselor and trusted advisor to nearly every Republican presidential nominee and president over that span of time. He served as a special assistant to five Presidents.
Malek chaired the Republican Governors Association (RGA) and the RGA’s Executive Roundtable, helping to transform the committee into one of the most successful and effective in U.S. politics. He also founded and served as the Chairman of the American Action Network and the American Action Forum.
An acclaimed business leader, Malek’s career spanned five decades. He served as president of Marriott Corporation, and spearheaded the acquisition of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. As a senior advisor to the Carlyle Group, Malek co-led a group of investors in the acquisition of Coldwell Banker Commercial Group, now CBRE. Malek was also one of three leaders in the purchase of Northwest Airlines, later assuming a board position and eventually serving as president.
Malek also co-founded and served as Chairman of Thayer Lodging, a private equity firm.
Malek was a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and Harvard Business School. A Vietnam veteran, Malek served our nation valiantly as an Army Ranger attached to a Green Beret division and has been an ardent philanthropic supporter of his alma mater, West Point, ever since. He served as the chairman of the Board of Visitors of West Point; underwrote the Malek Tennis Center, the Malek Soccer Stadium at West Point; and led the largest capital campaign in the history of West Point, funding the Frederic Malek West Point Visitors Center. Malek was named the 2014 Distinguished Graduate, the highest honor West Point bestows.
Marymount University renamed its School of Health Professionals in honor of Malek and his wife, Marlene, in recognition of their leadership and significant commitment to the school. Fred with his wife have also been stalwart supporters of The Aspen Institute; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Ford’s Theatre; the Kennedy Center; the National Museum of Women in the Arts; Vital Voices Global Partnership, which advances leadership and entrepreneurial roles for women; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center.
Proudly of Czech descent, Malek was also the chairman of the American Friends of the Czech Republic. He received numerous awards during his lifetime and he was honored from the Anti-Defamation League with its ADL Achievement Award as well as becoming a Horatio Alger Member.
For more than half a century Malek contributed to making America a shining beacon of democracy throughout the world. A man moved by conscience to act on behalf of his fellow man, Malek stood, time and time again, for the values our Founding Fathers envisioned when they created the nation he loved more than life itself. Malek exemplified the best in leadership. A fearless warrior in life and in politics, Malek never walked away from a fight that needed to be fought. Be it the battle for the promise of America or the future of the Republican Party, Malek put himself on the front lines and made sure his words and deeds mattered for future generations. Malek never wavered in his belief that our mission was to forge a path for a better America.
A proud and loving husband, father and grandfather, Malek leaves his wife, Marlene A. Malek; two children, Frederic W. Malek (Britlan) and Michelle DuPont Olson (Chris), five grandchildren, his brother David K. Malek (Sharon) and sister Marci M. Anderson (Terry). Malek was the son of loving parents, Frederic William and Martha Smicklas Malek from Berwyn Illinois.
Service details will be Tuesday, April 2, 11:00am at National United Methodist Church. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Boulder Crest Retreat for Wounded Warriors (http://www.bouldercrestretreat.org/donate) or Friends of Cancer Research (www.focr.org/donate) in honor of Fred Malek. Interment will be at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
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Mountain Rescue Aspen is expanding its education efforts to try to keep people safe in the backcountry during winters and summers. It will host a workshop on Dec. 8 titled, “How to Plan a Backcountry Tour.”