Vincent Joseph Molina died peacefully at his home on May 13, 2023, surrounded by loving family.
He was born November 26, 1931 in Key West, Florida, to Vicente Arturo Molina, a baker, and Angela Piedad Rodriguez Molina. As a teenager, he drove a truck delivering Molina’s Cuban bread from his father’s bakery, regularly chatting with Ernest Hemingway on the bread route. After graduating from Key West High School, where he played saxophone and clarinet in the jazz band, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alabama and then headed to Tulane University Medical school. With his M.D., he returned to Florida and began a specialty in anesthesiology at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. During this time, he also served in the U. S. Army Reserves, earning the rank of captain in the medical corps. It was in Miami that he met his wife, Jeanie, a nurse anesthetist. The couple soon moved to a home on the Indian River Lagoon in Ft. Pierce, where they raised their children and provided anesthesia in Treasure Coast hospitals for over 30 years.
Jean was his true soulmate, and theirs was the epitome of a perfect marriage. For nearly sixty- one years, they rarely spent a day apart, and their profound love for each other was evident and enviable. The pair of them could frequently be found together in the halls of Lawnwood Hospital, or out fishing for snook, winning dance contests aboard cruise ships, taking drama classes at Indian River Community College, enjoying cultural and philanthropic events, taking care of their many dogs, and hosting epic holiday parties for hundreds of guests at their Fort Pierce home.
Vince and Jeanie Molina also shared adventures beyond Florida: skiing in the Colorado mountains, shooting photographs on an African safari, riding the trails at a dude ranch, embarking on European and Middle Eastern tours, traveling to Russia and South America, and cruising in the Caribbean and Alaska. After they retired, they enjoyed feeding the deer and watching the sun set over the mountains from the back porch of their North Carolina home and birdwatching on their Port St. Lucie lake.
This brilliant doctor is also remembered as a genuine Renaissance man. As a visual artist, he was adept at drawing, photography, painting, collage, and sculpture, including many locally famous, whimsical pieces welded from discarded surgical tools. His work was once displayed in a show at the A. E. “Beanie” Backus Gallery in Ft. Pierce. His passion for music was never- ending: playing flute, congas and bongos, and filling his home with jazz, classical, big band, calypso, and Broadway show tunes. He was a deep thinker and a voracious reader—of novels, philosophy, history, poetry, theology, and the Bible. Dr. Molina also loved to tinker, creating numerous inventions to solve household problems.
Faith was an integral and important part of Vincent Molina’s life. He and Jeanie not only attended St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, they were very active in the church community for many years, they hosted prayer groups and Bible study, and they frequently prayed together over the hospital beds of strangers.
Vincent’s true Christian values were plainly manifested in his daily deeds. He didn’t have to tell his children and grandchildren to be patient, kind, generous, selfless, and compassionate; they just knew, by witnessing how he treated them and all others. Vince Molina was the kind of dad and grandpa that everyone wants. Doting and playful, he could be counted on to laugh at your jokes, challenge you to a game of pool, grill up some thick steaks, or bathe you in unconditional love, even when you had made a dreadful mistake or faced your toughest challenge.
Dr. Molina is survived by his loving wife of 60 years, Bonnie Jean (Jeanie) Dodge Molina; a niece, Ida Poret; five children: Vincent Mark Molina (wife, Becky), Lauran Molina Gault (husband, Bill), Teresa (Terri) Molina Sawyer (husband, Rick), Bonnie Jean (Jaye) Molina Power (husband, Jeff), and Mary Margaret (Marti) Molina Farinacci; eight grandchildren: Vincent Lukas (Luke) Molina (wife, Megan), Fraea Molina, Joseph Molina, Christopher Hazellief (wife, Michelle), Nicholas Sawyer (husband, Matthew), Chad Sawyer (wife, Caroline), Jennifer Power Borland (husband, Brady), Jacob Power (wife, Suzy), and Alexis Farinacci; and thirteen great- grandchildren: Kali, Ada, Conrad, Alexandra, Eirena, Connor, Clarissa, Nicole, Wynne, Jack, Brayden, Blake, and Kenneth Jacob (K. J.).
A celebration of life for Vincent Molina will be held at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 210 South Indian River Drive in Ft. Pierce on Saturday, June 3, 2023, at 11:00 a.m.
Tribute Gifts in memory of Vincent Molina may be made to Treasure Coast Hospice Foundation, 1201 SE Indian Street, Stuart, FL 34997 or at www.treasurehealth.org.