Nature 14

Martin Alan Molecke

September 14, 1945 ~ November 9, 2022 (age 77) 77 Years Old

Obituary

Life of Dr. Martin A Molecke. Ph.D.   1945- 2022.   

Martin was a man of wide interests.  He was a scientist and a family man. He loved his friends and many forms of art.   

He was born in Cleveland Ohio in 1945, just a little early to be a true baby boomer.  He shared his young life with his sister Sandra (Davis) Molecke, his mother Miriam Molecke and his father Sam Molecke.  He was brought up in the Jewish faith but he mainly believed in science.  Martin did well academically but often slept in school since he stayed up until early morning hours listening to his short-wave radio.  He had a few good friends but was mainly an introvert and “independent” guy.    

His life changed when he met Connie Hatch, who became his wife in 1968.  She was talkative and very social, and with her they developed many close relationships with family and friends.  Together they took Chinese cooking classes and he was especially proud of cooking crispy Peking duck. Their first camping trips were in a borrowed canvas tent. They later took their family camping in a pop-up all around the United States, tasting the local BBQ wherever they went. Their first European trips were for business but later they traveled the world often with their family and friends.  Their Albuquerque home was the scene of many birthday parties with pinatas, sleep-overs with lots of boys, gatherings of neighbors, and large dinners with their gourmet club friends.    

Marty became the father of Dr. Greg S. Molecke who lives in Albuquerque but is on the Faculty at the University of Exeter in England. His honorary daughter, Lesley S. Molecke, is co-owner of Cornershop Creative Web Design. He delighted in sharing his time and love with his grand-daughters Tigerlily Miriam Molecke and Rose Ruby Molecke. He was also very proud of his second son, Dr. Ryan A. Molecke who is the CTO and co-founder of EnLedger.io, a blockchain real estate and energy company, and who also farms orchids and lives in Denver. When Marty's sons, Greg and Ryan, earned their doctorates, he cried with joy.  

Pets were an important part of Marty and Connie’s life.   Their first dog was a small black French poodle.  He didn’t want to give it a silly French name like “Fifi” or “Gigi” so he named it “Rocky.”  Over the years he loved many small dogs. He walked them a half mile a day and he especially loved his poodle Annie who was adopted as a bedraggled wreck and became a fluffy white princess.   He taught his parrot “Kelly” to talk and fed and showered her for 40 years.   

Art was not part of Marty’s early life but he became interested in art museums and art books in his twenties. He became a talented stained-glass artist and filled his home with many beautiful windows and intricate pieces.  When they ran out of room to display his art, he started making gift glass lamps for family members and friends.  As a boy he collected Mad magazines and comic books.  As a man, he loved to read books by Stephen King, James Patterson, Tony Kellerman, and Ken Follet.  Soon he was going to Albuquerque Little Theatre and small theaters.  He and Connie enjoyed concerts and he collected lots of vinyl records, CD’s, and DVD’s.  Marty spent a lot of time organizing all of the photographs we took of family, friends and travels.  He cherished those memories. 

Marty’s professional career was very important to him. He graduated from Bowling Green State University of Ohio in 1967 with a BA in Science and from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh with a Ph.D. in Nuclear Chemistry. As a nuclear chemist, he truly wanted to find a safe way to dispose of nuclear waste. Working at Sandia National Laboratories, he was a Principal Investigator at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. When the WIPP became operational as a safe storage location, his work shifted to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and then to being the Principal Investigator for the Spent Fuel Sabotage-Aerosol Ratio test program. He worked for Sandia Laboratories for 32 years and published over 100 papers on these topics. 

During the last thirty years, Marty became active in the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Albuquerque. He supported programs to improve the quality of life for people and animals. Marty especially enjoyed the Men’s Discussion Group. They talked about life, philosophy, religion, and a wide range of topics. After many years of reflection, he considered himself a Humanist, Jewish Unitarian. He strove to promote peace and justice in our world. 

Martin lived a strong healthy life until becoming ill with cerebral and spinal meningitis and schwannomas. He died peacefully at home on November 9, 2022 with family surrounding him with love. 

His life will be honored in a celebration of life soon.  He lives on in his wife of 54 years Connie Molecke, son Greg  and daughter-in-law Lesley Molecke and granddaughters Tigerlily Miriam Molecke and Rose Ruby Molecke, son Ryan Molecke, sister Sandra Molecke Davis (Shelly), sisters-in-law Christine Hatch Posin (Tom) Cynthia Hatch King (Gale), brother Fred Hatch (Maureen), and sister Sarah Hatch Knaub (Jon), as well as nephews and nieces Mike & Terri Davis, Ricki & Neal Gafter, Pam & Rick Squillari, Mike & Dionna Hatch, Gloria Hatch, David & Paola Robinson, Brett Jordan, Julia & Daniel Klein, Peter & Jenna Mueller, Erik Mueller, Kai, Paxton, Mateo and River Knaub, mother-in-law Betty Hatch, and many great nephews and nieces.   

We often say that some close friends are ”like family.”  The Molecke Family has strongly bonded with several families for over forty years.   We also include as our family: the Bradleys, the Moultons, the Sills, the Roehrigs, the Stalkers, the Trellues, the Willians, the Eidsons, the Glasers, the Zinzer-Knorovskys, the Peterson-Bices, the Walraths, the Janiks, the Byrnes, and the Roths.  We thank them for years of support and love. 

Martin Molecke was a man of goodness and integrity. He loved many people and was much loved in return.  We will miss him. 

Stories from the family:

A story from Connie:

Our friends and family know Marty as a scientist with a quirky sense of humor and a love for good friends and good food, especially BBQ. He didn’t show strong emotions often. About 12 years ago we decided to go to the city animal shelter to find another dog. I was walking in front of him down the aisle when he called to me. “We have to get this one.” He was kneeling next to a little poodle cross dog totally covered in dirty, matted, white fur. With her tail tucked tight between her legs, she had cautiously creeped up to him to lick his fingers. She was shaking, and had a nasty-looking “cherry eye” that had scared away others from adopting her. But Marty thought her eyes looked so hopeful. He didn’t care that it would cost $200 to fix her cherry eye. He loved Annie for the next 12 years and she became one of our best friends because “She licked my fingers.”

A story from Greg:

One thing people may not know about Marty was that he was an excellent cook. As a young couple, before I was born, Marty and Connie took a series of Chinese cooking courses from a Chinese chef in Pittsburgh. As kids I remember having such good Chinese food as part of our regular dinner rotations and Marty teaching me to use chopsticks from a very young age. He loved smoking meats and I remember the long-smoked turkeys we had for Thanksgiving several years. I remember my dad teaching me the secret Molecke Flank Steak recipe that I used on many dates, including to try to impress Lesley. And we still cook it regularly. But the fanciest meal I remember Marty cooking was live lobsters for his Sandians Gourmet Club. Marty and Connie have been part of a group of 10-20 couples they met when Marty worked at Sandia National Labs. Each month a different couple hosts dinner, and each guest brings part of the meal. They have been doing this almost every month for over 40 years now. But when I was perhaps about 10, Marty organized to have live lobsters flown in from Maine. He let my brother and I take them out of the shipping container and set them out on the back patio to crawl around. I remember Marty making really sure that all the rubber bands on all their claws were extra secure so they wouldn’t grab our toes. And how the dogs barked at the lobsters, and Marty locking them inside so the lobsters (and dogs) wouldn’t be scared. And how Marty explained how he would make sure they had a totally painless death so we wouldn’t worry. I’ll miss his cooking.

Stories from Lesley:

On my way to meet Greg's parents for the first time, Greg suddenly got very serious. "Whatever you do, DO NOT pull my Dad's finger. He will ask you. DON'T DO IT." He knew how straightlaced my upbringing was, and was trying to protect me from Marty's infamous fart jokes. Obviously I completely disregarded him: When Greg introduced me and Marty politely nodded his head and then stuck his finger in my face and enthusiastically demanded, "Pull my finger!" I immediately obliged. After all, I really liked this guy and wanted his parents to like me! Marty let out a very satisfying imitation fart, I laughed in response, and we became fast friends. He thrilled in grossing me out and I thrilled in pretending to be far more grossed out than I actually was, a duty I considered sacred as his only daughter.

Marty had a great sense of humor, but he wasn't vociferous or showy with his laughter, so we all took great pride in making him really genuinely laugh. I'll never forget the family game of Cards Against Humanity when one of Rose's game-winning cards ended up being a really gross fart joke and Marty laughed so hard he turned bright red and nearly stopped breathing. He loved a good fart joke, and was my favorite fart joke teller by far.

A story from Rose:

When we visited during the summer, we always stayed at our grandparent's house. Every morning grandpa would don his hat and his walking shoes and go out to walk Annie and Tasha. During the summer we got to go on those walks with him. I was a late waker but he would always say something like, "We gotta walk them when it’s cool," so I would put on my shoes and he'd tell me I needed a hat and we'd walk the dogs. One day he wanted to take us to this specific park, so we put on our hats and started walking, we talked about so many things. We got to where the park was supposed to be but it wasn't there! We were right next to a gym and I suppose they replaced the park with that. He called Grandma to come pick us up and meanwhile he told us stories about his childhood, dad's and some of grandma's. Eventually grandma got there and we all got in the car (to the dog's dismay). I remember this story because Grandpa always knew how to distract us from a bad situation and how to make good times out of bad ones, even if they weren't all that bad. :)

A story from Tigerlily:

My grandpa was the best storyteller that I knew. Every morning, during our summer visits, he would bring us along during his morning dog walks. And as we were walking through the surrounding neighborhoods, he would tell us all kinds of stories about every person in our family. It was so cool to understand how each person's future shaped out and it also helped us understand how our family grew to be the way it is now. By far my favorite stories were of his childhood and his school. He told us this one story about how he lit a small firecracker behind his school’s piano and caused quite a bit of mischief when the school bullies were blamed. I loved the way he would form a mischievous smile as if he were reliving that memory. I could have listened to those stories for hours on end and I will always keep them in my heart.

Celebration of Life

The Molecke family will have a wonderful celebration of the life of Martin’s life on February 11, 2023 at 11:00am at the First Unitarian Universalist Church, 3701 Carlisle Blvd., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87111.

Marty would be delighted to know that we will follow his celebration with a BBQ (beef, pork, chicken) lunch - as Connie promised him.

Martin’s family has compiled a photo album of his amazing and well-traveled life: https://photos.app.goo.gl/eAAoqtJCqgsUJSHV8

Those of you who know Marty know he loved to curate his photos into well-organized albums. We hope this one does him proud.

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.


Services

Celebration of Life
Saturday
February 11, 2023

11:00 AM
First Unitarian Universalist Church (Carlisle Blvd, Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Guaranteed delivery before the Celebration of Life begins

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