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Mike Molnar


joerobson

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Hope this OK to post - from the VSA announcement I just received:

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In Memoriam – Mike Molnar
Jay VandeKopple

We are sorry to announce the passing of Mike Molnar, a kind and bright friend of the VSA. While Mike had a variety of interests through his life, violin making became an area of special interest for him. In keeping with his background, Mike was deeply intrigued by wood and varnishes. In particular, he enjoyed looking at violin ground and varnish color. It was a pleasure to speak with him about what he sees in the varnish, and what he doesn't see.

I was honored that he reached out to me when he was making plans for hospice care. He wanted to be sure that some of his things would go to the VSA Scholarship Auction, and I live close enough that I could help out. It was so like him to want to help others in this way.

Mike was very close to his family and a kind and generous friend. He will be sorely missed.

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Loving Husband, Wonderful Father and a True Renaissance Man

On February 7, 2023, Michael Robert Molnar died peacefully at home in Warren, NJ. Shelley, his wife of 47 years, was by his side. The family is very grateful to the dedicated staff at Memorial Sloan Kettering and Compassionate Care Hospice for making Mike’s final days as comfortable as possible.

The son of the late Charles and Sophie Molnar, Mike grew up in Paramus, graduating from Paramus High School in 1963 and from Bucknell University in 1967. Although his thesis was destroyed by 1970 bombing at the University of Wisconsin, he was still able to complete his PhD in Astrophysics in January of 1971. He went on to perform postdoctoral work at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt Maryland. While at Goddard he worked on NASA’s Orbiting Astronomical Observatory (OAO). Mike was a professor of Astronomy at the University of Toledo when he met his wife Shelley, in 1975.

Mike decided to leave the academic world, after receiving tenure, for a career in industry, moving to Houston, Texas in 1979. Between 1979 and his retirement in 2004, Mike demonstrated his versatility and adaptability by working in a variety of industries: medical instruments, downhole drilling, research and development, and he briefly returned to academia. Some of the organizations included Schlumberger, Bell Labs, Rutgers University, PR Newswire, Molnar Tools and the Chubb Institute.

After their son Gregory was born in Houston in 1980, Mike and Shelley decided to move closer to their families, so they relocated to New Jersey in 1983. They have lived in Warren, New Jersey for 39 years.

During his 77 years on earth, Mike loved to apply his wonderful analytical mind to history and art, getting lost in his desire to unlock the deepest secrets of humanity.. His insatiable curiosity and his fascination with Roman history, ancient coins and astronomy culminated in his book “The Star of Bethlehem, The Legacy of the Magi”. Published by Rutgers University Press in 1999, it has been described as the best explanation of what appeared in the skies during the time that Christians believe marked the birth of Christ. His book has been reprinted in several languages. During Christmas and Easter, his interviews with the BBC, CNN, Fox News, and the Discovery Channel have been frequently rebroadcast.

After his retirement from The Chubb Institute in 2004, Mike’s hobbies and interests blossomed into a renewed joie de vivre punctuated by violin making, writing, traveling and satisfying his love for animals by watching the creatures that visited his back yard. Over the past 20 years, he dedicated his life to uncovering the secrets of violin making, utilizing novel varnishes and computer-aided techniques to push the boundaries of what was considered possible. When he wasn’t busy reinventing the violin world, Mike and Shelley would travel the actual world, successfully visiting all seven continents. Their favorite trips, however were to Antarctica, Yellowstone, Puerto Vallarta and Northern California because they were accompanied by their beloved son Greg.

Click here to view the Legacy.com obituary.

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Hey guys,

 

Got some awesome wood from Don. I have a neck block, torrefied top, much block material (spruce), a FB, nut, saddle and bridge. I'll probably tackle the scroll and fingerboard for this one. So whoever wants to do the top plate can PM me or post here and I can get the wood to them. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...

Hello all,

Mike had rib assemblies and semi carved back plates left in the shop. We will receive these in May from his wife. This will allow us to make a list of tasks and contributors.  I am still in for ground and varnishing. Nick Allen will do the finger board and something else that I don't remember.  Dwight will get us a case. If you are interested in contributing to the project, please let me know.

on we go,

Joe

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I'll do the FB, nut, neck roughing and scroll carving. 

Whoever else wants to do anything involving the top plate and whatnot, pls dm me because Don sent me many supplies like the top wood, bass bar and the setup accoutrements. I'll send the supplies to whomever wants to do what. 

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1 minute ago, Nick Allen said:

I'll do the FB, nut, neck roughing and scroll carving. 

Whoever else wants to do anything involving the top plate and whatnot, pls dm me because Don sent me many supplies like the top wood, bass bar and the setup accoutrements. I'll send the supplies to whomever wants to do what. 

I'll do the belly.

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On 6/8/2023 at 1:21 PM, Nick Allen said:

Sure can. Just waiting on the garland so I can figure out which darn model we're making for the scroll lol. 

Jay Vandercouple will get together with Mike's wife when he returns from ISB Convention.  He will send the remaining backs and garlands to me...then we can make choices and get to work.

on we go,

Joe

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1 hour ago, joerobson said:

To those of you who have volunteered to work on this violin;

Please PM me and give me your email address so we can do group communications.

on we go,

Joe

I just spoke with Jay V. He has made arrangements with Mike's wife to pick up the remaining backs and rib assemblies. We will choose one for the violin this weekend.

on we go,

Joe

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