In Memoriam: Longtime Antioch High Music Masters director Ron Molina passes

Celebration of Life August 26

Ronald Joseph Molina

September 17, 1947-May 30, 2023

Resident of Antioch and Discovery Bay

It would be an understatement to say he was just a Music Man. He was also a charming coach, engaging educator, marvelous mentor, fabulous friend and loving husband.

Ron Molina, iconic director of Antioch High School’s Music Masters, passed away at home on May 30, 2023, after a lengthy illness.

Raised by parents Joseph and Dorothy Molina, he started his life at the old hospital in downtown Antioch. The eldest of three (brother to Debi and Susan), he attended AUSD schools, graduating from AHS in 1965.

It was at that school where he formed deep and lifelong friendships, which would eventually pull him back to Panther Country as a much-admired teacher.

When the young Molina wasn’t singing or playing ball, he spent summers fishing, hunting and camping in the Redwoods with his parents and sisters. It was a team effort with Dorothy setting up camp for the summer, Joseph working during the week and all gathering during the weekends. The family also enjoyed visiting and exploring the rich history of California’s missions.

Alter graduating high school, Ron attended Diablo Valley College before transferring to San Jose State University to major in music – the subject he loved most. After earning his Bachelor of Arts degree, he worked in the private sector for several years.

Ron was a natural entertainer with a gift for singing and playing various instruments. He had the voice of an Italian tenor and would captivate audiences with his remarkable personality and melodic voice. He performed in a vast array of venues, including Carnegie Hall, and entertained passengers on many ocean cruises.

In 1986, after years in the spotlight, he returned to Antioch High initially splitting his time between running football plays and leading the music department – both with winning and long-lasting results. It’s nearly impossible to count the competitions, games, performances and student trips to Hawaii.

It’s even more impossible to measure or comprehend how many young people’s lives Mo – as he was affectionally called – helped shape, influence and guide. That was evident during the 2013 surprise concert featuring 150 of Mo’s Music Masters, who gathered to show their love when he retired. It was a mix of choir students from 1988 to 2013.

At the time, Jason Mullen (Class of 1996) said: “It needed to be larger than life because that is exactly what Mo is.”

Ron met and fell in love with his beautiful wife, Darcy Lauck, while teaching at Folsom High School. Their 1993 wedding was in Hawaii – their peaceful place, for which they shared a love. Darcy adored the tranquility of swimming with dolphins and turtles while Ron would enjoy a delicious pina colada or an ice-cold beer.

“I’m deeply touched (by everyone’s) kind words and thoughtfulness,” she said. “I am eternally grateful to each of you.” She added that “Ron is now singing in heaven for the angels, his voice resonating with a harmonious refrain.”

He leaves behind his wife of 30-plus years, son Joe (Dyan), grandsons Mason and Logan, sisters Debi and Susan, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Darcy will host a Celebration of Life at 11 a.m. Aug. 26 in Antioch High’s Beede Auditorium. In the meantime, those interested can donate to the Ron Molina Memorial Scholarship. Checks may be sent to Antioch High, 700 West 18th St., Antioch, CA 94509.

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