Posted by StreetWise in Latest News
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.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.
“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.