Charlene Koss Molnar, February 12, 1950-September 21, 2023, age 73, of Leonard, Michigan, passed away from arterial stenosis complicated by rheumatoid arthritis and kidney failure. Born in Detroit to Francis and Mary Koss, the oldest of six children, Charlene attended St. Bartholomew grade school. She graduated from Immaculate High School, an all-girls catholic school on the west side of Detroit, each day taking three city busses to reach the campus. A superior student, she earned a 4-year scholastic scholarship to any university in the state of Michigan. She graduated from Wayne State University with a degree in biology. Her profession was a medical technologist at William Beaumont hospital in Royal Oak.
In 1986 she married Gary Molnar. Both were from the same East Detroit neighborhood but didn’t meet until 1985. They built and moved into their lifelong home in 1989.
Char left Beaumont hospital to pursue gardening. She enrolled in the Michigan State University Master Gardener program. After completing the program, Michigan State University offered her a position with the Oakland County extension service. Gardening would become her second career. She gave lectures, did research, answered questions on the “Garden Hotline”, wrote horticulture bulletins, and interacted with the MSU main campus in Lansing, Michigan.
She maintained a volunteer garden at the Detroit Zoo with her husband, Gary. They spent early mornings at the Zebra exhibit, spreading bags of mulch and planting flowers. Char selected flowers to have consecutive blooms, creating changing colors throughout the growing season.
Char and Gary traveled domestically and internationally. During a South African safari Char saw the rare event of a lion stalking and dispatching a wildebeest. In Japan during the Cherry Blossom Festival Char joined Japanese business men in suits, sitting with them on flattened cardboard boxes among the cherry trees in full bloom. They shared sake and an unknown delicacy, using smiles and hand gestures to communicate.
Multi-talented Char was a gourmet cook, hosting epic family Christmas gatherings in a Norman Rockwell setting that included her needle point work on the walls and handmade stained glass table lamp shades. The window treatments were sewn by her. When her sister Lisa was married, Char sewed the wedding dress.
Surviving Charlene is her husband, Gary Molnar and her siblings: Paul (Jeanne) Koss of Lake Ann, Veronica (Sam) Kearns of Chino Valley, Arizona, Elisabeth (Asle) Soberg of Collegeville, Pa. Gordon (Gwyn) Koss of Detroit. Charlene is preceded in death by her sister Roberta McFall of Bloomfield Hills.
Char will be remembered for her warm smile, easy laugh and leaving the world a better place than she found it.
There will be a private memorial service honoring the life of Charlene.