Family, friends rocked by teen’s death
Appeal Staff Writer
Andrew Cunningham wept when he talked about the advice his friend Joe Molter gave him a few weeks ago when the two were on the same flag football team at the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada.
“He told me to never give up, and to always believe in myself,” the Carson Middle School seventh-grader said.
Joe, 13, an Eagle Valley Middle School student, died Thursday after he collapsed about 5:30 p.m. during a track meet at Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School in Douglas County.
Stepmother Julie Molter said the family did not learn the results of an autopsy Friday and still have no idea what killed the seemingly healthy teen.
“We were told he was running the race, then he stopped to walk and just collapsed,” she said Friday.
It was Joe’s first competition in his first year on the track team.
The eighth-grader’s death shocked not only his classmates and teachers, but the dozens of children and staff at the Boys & Girls Club, where Joe had been a member since he was 7 years old.
“He was funny, respectful and compassionate. He got along with everyone,” said Dan McLaughlin.
The club’s middle school director, McLaughlin spends his weekday afternoons keeping students from grades six through eight on the right track. In a room off the game room, they can watch a movie or play video games or listen to music.
He said Joe was always present there. And with a face that seemed made for smiling, the blond-haired boy did not disappoint.
“He had a huge smile every day,” McLaughlin said, his voice breaking and his eyes red from crying. “I guess I’m so upset, because it’s just so unfair.”
Sheets of paper were laid out on three pool tables. As children arrived at the club on Friday afternoon, they fell into each other’s arms and cried or wrote notes to Joe.
“He was smart and he could make people laugh, and he loved everyone,” one message read.
“I will always remember you as a star on the field,” wrote Zane Cole, a staff member.
Diane McCoy, club director, said the thing that stands out about Joe is that he was always happy.
“He always volunteered. He would do anything for a Snapple,” she said. “He wasn’t just a jock, he was involved in all aspects of the club. I’ve known Joe forever. He’s just a great kid.”
His father agreed with her sentiment.
“He was just an amazing young man, a computer genius. He had the biggest heart in the world and the most contagious smile. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for anybody,” Pat Molter said before his voice became choked with emotion. “He’s kind of a shining light.”
A graveside service for Joe has been set for 10 a.m. Tuesday at Lone Mountain Cemetery. A viewing will be held 4-8 p.m. Monday at Autumn Funerals and Cremations, 1575 N. Lompa Lane.
On his Myspace.com Web page – where his header professes his love for his girlfriend, Chelsea – friends and family left messages for the boy who had so much promise.
“Rest in peace,” wrote his friend Stephanie Carlquist. “You were so good.”
Among Joe’s survivors are his mother, Peggy Molter, brothers and sister Aaron Molter, Jimmy Carmen, Jordon Arellano and Josilyn Arellano, father and stepmother.
You can help
Donations to help the family pay for funeral costs for Joe Molter, 13, can be made out to Joe’s father, Patrick Molter, and mailed to: 2608 Baker Drive, Carson City, NV 89701.
• Contact reporter F.T. Norton at email@example.com or 881-1213.
Secret Witness turns 40 this year – and it’s helped solve many of Northern Nevada’s most violent crimes
Secret Witness tips have played a pivotal role in solving some of the most violent crimes the greater Northern Nevada region has seen. To date, Secret Witness has paid out more than $300,000 in rewards to anonymous tipsters. Rewards range from $50 (graffiti/tagging) to $1,500 (armed robbery) to $2,500 (murder).