Letter to the Editor - April 6

April 06, 2011

Molten a true member of the greatest generation

To the editor:

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Robert P. Molten (RPM, or Mr. M, to those who knew him). I felt compelled to write this letter to share my thoughts about him with everyone.

I last spoke with Mr. M. by phone. I called in regard to a letter he wrote that was published in this paper. I wanted to thank him for writing such a timely and eloquent story, which was about his experience with registering to vote in the city of New York during the ’40s.

He had been required to take a literacy exam in order to register, and he said that he was most proud of the literacy certificate he received, and that it hung on the wall of his office to that day. I would also like to say that Mr. M. would most certainly have approved of the selection of The Women’s Club as the best place for his memorial service.

Now, this event has caused me to look back on my own life’s journey, now fairly far along, and thank God once again that I stumbled across the path of men such as Robert P. Molten, Tom Hart, and Paul Stiedings.

You see, at the time I met them I was a youngster who had a lot of ideas about how the world worked, and almost all of them were wrong.

While I learned an enormous amount about designing and building custom equipment from RPM, the lessons I learned from him about the bigger picture were even more valuable. Today I often find myself telling stories about the things he designed to my colleagues. I usually begin by sharing my favorite RPM axiom “You will never know if it is too big, or too strong.” That RPM rule has served me well for several decades.

Every Molten Mfg. project number started with the prefix GBT-, which stood for “Great Big Thing.”

One thing that Mr. M., Tom, and Paul had in common was their service to the country during WWII. If you know anything about the details of their service, than you are undoubtedly in a special inner circle, for it was rarely, if ever, mentioned by any of them. They seemed to be always looking forward, and if they were occasionally reminiscing, then it was only about the amusing things that they had done. “Greatest Generation,” I will always think of these three gentlemen when I hear that phrase.

Godspeed, Mr. M.

Stan Tissue

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