Deceased September 30, 2015
My beloved younger brother Franklin Bache Molin '86 passed away on Sept. 30, 2015, in Arlington, VA, after a long illness. He was 53 years old. Franklin was survived by his wife, Elizabeth Barr Molin, and three children, Benjamin Franklin Molin (Harvard College '18), Louisa Elizabeth Molin and Caroline Bache Molin, all of Pittsburgh, PA. He was also survived by his mother and stepfather, Ann Castle Boswell and Dr. Jackson C. Boswell of Arlington, VA; his brothers Karl T. ("Ted") Molin '78, Peter C. Molin and John B. Molin; his half-brother Jason E. Molin; and numerous nieces and nephews, including my son, Teo Molin '11. Franklin was preceded in death by our father, Dr. Sven Eric Molin '50.
Franklin was born on February 26, 1962, in Lynchburg, VA, where our father was a professor of English at Randolph-Macon Woman's College. Our family moved to Arlington, VA, in 1967. There, Franklin attended Washington-Lee and H-B Woodlawn High Schools. In high school, Franklin was a member of the varsity football and gymnastics teams. He also attained Eagle Scout status. Franklin was a cute little kid, sturdy, with a big head of curly gold hair. One of Franklin's friends sent us a snapshot of Franklin as an eight-year-old cub scout. He is standing in his uniform with his cap perched on his hair, strong, proud, with a calm and steady gaze. Something about his look caught my eye and I studied his face carefully to see what the essence of it was. I think I found it: he had a true look of character and greatness about him, even as a little boy.
Franklin graduated from George Mason University School of Law in 1992. He practiced law in Pittsburgh, PA for many years before returning to Arlington several years before his death. Like his famous ancestor and namesake, Benjamin Franklin, he was fascinated by science and all the potential for scientific improvement in the life of mankind. Franklin became nationally known for his expertise in intellectual property law. In Pittsburgh, he was a partner at K&L Gates LLP, one of the nation's largest law firms, where he handled the accounts of many major national corporations. Franklin also taught intellectual property law at Duquesne University School of Law and published numerous articles in law journals.
Although he was an accomplished attorney, Franklin's greatest passion was music. Our mother always encouraged us and challenged us to pursue whatever dreams we wanted, especially artistic dreams. Of her four sons, Franklin responded most fully to the artistic challenge. Before turning to law, he was an active participant in Washington, DC's punk rock music scene in the early 1980s. Franklin played drums for Iron Cross and guitar for Thorns, both local bands. He also played guitar for several years for Bomb, a San Francisco psychedelic punk rock band.
Franklin loved Amherst College—so much so, we used to joke, that he stayed for six years. Our father taught us to revere Amherst and what it represents as the paradigm of a liberal arts college. Unlike our father, whose idols were G. Armour Craig and other luminaries of the English department, Franklin chose to become a physics major because, he said, he had heard that it was the "hardest" major. Notably, Franklin left a piece of himself at Amherst: a fingertip that he severed on a table saw while working on a project in the basement of Fayerweather Hall. Our family often wondered why he working on a shop project at a liberal arts college. Also unlike our father, who cherished his time at Theta Delta Chi, Franklin lived off-campus for much of his time at Amherst, with a group of friends in a house that was not exactly a showplace from House & Garden. He loved his Amherst friends and vacationed with a number of them in Maine just a few weeks before he died.
Franklin was a wonderful son, brother, father, mentor and friend. He loved his children with a great passion. Franklin was accomplished and well-informed but also kindly and a good listener; hence, he was a fascinating conversationalist. He was intelligent, deep, very interested in people, sweet, humorous and intrepid. Franklin confronted many challenges in his life, many of them of his own making. He was a perfectionist and very demanding of himself. Franklin faced life, especially the challenges of his last years, with courage and determination. In his long final illness, Franklin had the unwavering love and support of our family, especially our mother and stepfather.
Ted Molin '78