Our Vendors 

StreetWise says ‘goodbye’ to vendor and friend

Fri, Feb 24, 2012

StreetWise regrets to share that our friend and StreetWise Vendor Josef Molnar past away on February 22, 2012 of natural causes at the age of 61. Joe was a good man, always smiling, with a vibrant artistic talent and he will certainly be missed by not only his StreetWise family, but anyone who knew him.

Joe was known as the StreetWise artist and many of his drawings were featured on the cover and inside the magazine.

Joe came to StreetWise in the spring of 2010 and had been a consistent and passionate vendor, not only by keeping his sales strong, but also by contributing his artwork to the magazine. He had nearly a year and a half of artistic traning working in pen and ink, pastels and charcoal doing portraits.

"Street Scene" by Joe Molnar

In explaining what first brought him to Streetwise, he says, “… losing my family.” Joe’s was a complicated case, but he explained that it boiled down to the fact that after years of legal struggle, his ex-wife was granted sole custody of their children, and disappeared. That was 14 years ago. Joe was originally from Hungary and came to the U.S. as a war refugee. He said, “I value my freedom above all. Once you’re free, then you’re able to satisfy other goals that are even higher.”

While Joe was with us, StreetWise was happy to have had the chance to help him rebuild. StreetWise Executive Director Jim LoBianco says, “Joe was a true StreetWise success story. He came to us a few years ago with a desire to get sober and find stability in his life. He was accepted to Salvation Army residential program and succeeded in maintaining his sobriety. Joe moved out of the supportive housing program into a Salvation Army sober living building where he paid his own rent and maintained his own apartment. Recently Joe had been going on job interviews and was a candidate for a telemarketing job. Joe was an prominent part of the StreetWise family. He mentored other participants, assisted new vendors, and volunteered around the office.

"Cupid" by Joe Molnar

“We greatly appreciated Joe sharing his artistic talent with us and our readers. He worked especially closely with the editorial staff, Suzanne and Brittany. There is a definite sense of loss at the office today, from myself included. The staff and I are thankful that StreetWise helped Joe maintain his own housing and live a life he could be proud of. He will be missed.In that same interview, Joe had said of his customers, “I’m a pretty cheerful guy. I’m just happy to be here. I count my blessings. I’ve lost just about everything, really… [but] I’m just happy to be alive. It’s nice being out saying ‘good morning’ to people, joking around and wishing them a good day.”

His customer’s will not only miss his incredible artwork that lit up the pages of StreetWise Magazine, but they will miss the friend they’ve gotten to know.


5 Responses to “StreetWise says ‘goodbye’ to vendor and friend”

  1. Sbux says:

    Will be missed by his friends at starbucks

  2. Carole Anne says:

    I don’t even know how to express how sad I am to lose Joe. He was an angel unaware who made such a difference in my life with his positive attitude, encouraging laugh and sense of humor. I only hope I was able to let him know in some small way how special he was.

  3. Suzanne says:

    Joe wa a great guy! I will miss him. I loved his art work and his sense of reality. He had so little and gave so much. Farwell my friend!

  4. Xesiria L. Myers says:

    Just found out today the repbulic not only a Victory Garden Militia Chicago Memeber, lost an awake patriot. Him and I did very well talking about everything New World Order related to the crowds that gathered to listen. God Bless Brother and see you when I see you.

  5. Allyson says:

    I have always wondered what happened to my friend Joe. In truth I missed him. There wasn’t a month that went by that I didn’t wonder about how he was doing after I stopped seeing him. I hoped his absence was due to him finally getting that creative job he wanted or being reconnected with his family, but I have now come to know differently and it breaks my heart. It is comforting to know that our last conversation was a great one…it was about art. We were connected through that. One morning I brought him my pencils, chalks and charcoals, because he said all of his supplies were stolen. What could an artist do without supplies? A few weeks or so later he gave me a copy of his piece “Street Scene”. I remember feeling so moved by the piece and so very proud of his journey in that moment. Having now just learned that Joe passed that particular piece has a very special place in my heart.

    Joe said hi to me almost every morning. Always, and with a huge smile. I began to associate the start of my day with seeing him and I looked forward to our brief chats in the morning before I headed off to work. He brightened my day with his laugh and kindness and I can only hope that I gave him that in return. I wish I had one more day to just grab a cup of coffee with him and have another great conversation about life.

    He relayed his feelings about the family he was estranged from and how much he missed and loved his kids. I hope he got to tell them that before he passed. I hope they know that he wanted to progress every day for them and for himself.

    Joe was a wonderful human being. He always stood with a smile and had the warmest heart. I hope he is somewhere now creating his beautiful masterpiece.

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