WCCC professor brought out best in students
Duane Molnar taught thousands of college students how to be more effective communicators and left a legacy in the textbook “Effective Speaking: Take Flight … Into Your Future.”
Mr. Molnar taught English and effective speech at Westmoreland County Community College for 35 years, affecting the lives and careers of numerous students.
“He was able to bring out the best in students and really encourage them to not be afraid – to not let that fear (of public speaking) keep them from doing what they wanted to do,” said his wife, Mary Beth.
Former students frequently came up to him in public and thanked him for his instruction, she said.
“They would say, ‘Professor Molnar, do you remember me? I had you for effective speech, and I got a job,’ or ‘I did well in an interview.’ It was constant,” she said.
Duane S. Molnar of Scottdale died Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, at Redstone Highlands, Greensburg, after a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 64.
Born in Steubenville, Ohio, on Aug. 17, 1954, he was the son of the late Dennis and Arlene (Kayser) Molnar.
He graduated from Brooke County, W.Va., High School and West Virginia University. He obtained a master’s degree in English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Molnar and his wife met in the classroom. She was studying at Saint Vincent College and needed a summer course for some extra credit.
“I signed up for one of his literature classes (at WCCC). At the end of the summer, the class decided to go out for hamburgers,” Mary Beth said. “The second time, I was the only one who showed up.”
In addition to English and effective speech, Mr. Molnar taught classes in American and British literature.
“He was a true lover of the written word,” she said.
A year ago, around the time he was diagnosed, Mr. Molnar was approached by Kendall Hunt Publishing to write a book. He was able to distill 35 years of classroom method into the textbook, which was published in August.
“He sat down and he had spiral notebooks filled with thoughts and ideas and stories. I really think that book was his driving force that kind of kept him going through his hardships,” Mary Beth said.
Mr. Molnar also devoted himself to helping his wife rehabilitate wildlife, especially injured or abandoned waterfowl.
“He was an animal lover through-and-through,” she said.
The couple established a rehabilitation center in their home through the nonprofit organization Wildbird Recovery of Valencia. Rescued waterfowl — swans, geese, ducks, herons and other indigenous species — are reared and then released back into the wild, she said.
is survived by his wife of 25 years, Mary Beth (Long) Molnar, of Scottdale; his siblings, Douglas Molnar and his wife, Kris, of Wheeling, W.Va., and Ardelle Molnar, of Evans, Ga.
Friends may call from 1 to 3 and 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Frank Kapr Funeral Home, 417 Pittsburgh St., Scottdale. A memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Sunday at the funeral home, immediately followed by a luncheon at Carson’s Catering.
Memorial contributions may be made to Wildbird Recovery, 120 Forsythe Road, Valencia, PA 16059.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @shuba_trib.