‘Angel of Tahoe’ Lisa Maloff passes away at 93

Whittell athletic director Phil Bryant chats with the Angel of Tahoe Lisa Maloff during a field dedication in her honor.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The “Angel of Tahoe” Lisa Maloff passed away on Thursday, July 28. She was 93.

South Lake Tahoe City Manager, Joe Irvin, has ordered the city flags be lowered to half-staff to honor the passing of Maloff, one of South Lake Tahoe’s most prolific philanthropists who donated millions to Tahoe communities.

Mayor Devin Middlebrook stated, “We have lost our Angel of Tahoe today. But while she may be gone physically, her presence and spirit will continue to be felt every day.”

There are namesakes throughout the city to honor Maloff. Middlebrook said, “In 2019, we renamed Airport Road to Lisa Maloff Way. Each time you visit City Hall and the airport, take a moment as you turn onto Lisa Maloff Way to remember this extraordinary woman and the indelible impact she leaves on our community.”

Lisa Maloff, seated to the right of her friend Ricky Reich, is celebrated for her huge donation to George Whittell High School in 2018.
Bill Rozak/Tahoe Daily Tribune

City of South Lake Tahoe Facebook posted photos attached to the mayor’s sentiments, mourning with the community as the news of her passing sends waves through the broken hearts she touched.

“She’s done a lot of great things for the hospital, police departments fire departments, college, and Whittell High School,” said Maloff’s good friend Ricky Reich. “When her husband passed in 2011, She gave a property to her brother-in-law and hired me as a contractor to remodel the property. We established a friendship. I would go to their house in Skyland and make them dinner.

“She was understandably ornery after her husband died,” Reich added. The loss of her husband of more than half a century came just a few years after the passing of her sister.

Reich said, when the two met her personality slowly started to shift, “We traveled up the Mississippi River for two weeks, She did everything first class in life.”

Their companionship lasted 11 years.

Donning all pink, philanthropist Lisa Maloff breaks ground on Lake Tahoe Community College’s new university center in 2017 made possible by her $5.8 million donation.
Claire Cudahy/Tahoe Daily Tribune |

Reich said she’ll be cremated and will not have services after having just celebrated with a large party for her 90th birthday.

The City’s Facebook post also read, “She has been a bulwark of our community.”

A bulwark is a defensive wall; a person, institution or principal that acts as a defense according to the Oxford dictionary.

The post continued, “there really are no words that can truly capture her generous spirit. She has been a champion of public safety over the years and has directly supported improvements in our ability to respond to search and rescue needs.”

South Lake Tahoe Police Chief David Stephenson said, “She had such a huge heart and love for our police K9 program. Her donations to the program continue to support it.”

Lisa Maloff presents Lake Tahoe Community College with a check for $5.8 million for the building of the Lisa and Robert Maloff University Center that will offer upper-division college courses.
Isaac Brambila/Tahoe Daily Tribune |

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