Keith Franklin Molihan,77, of Vinton, Ohio, peacefully went home to be with the Lord on August 1, 2020, after a month-long battle with cancer. Keith was born October 2, 1942 to the late Paul Franklin Molihan and Geraldine (“Gerry”) Carr Molihan. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Keith was raised in Radcliff, Ohio along with his sisters Regina (“Jeannie”) Fagan and Lisa Lancaster.
He graduated from Wilton High School in Wilkesville, Ohio where he met the love of his life, Judy Cray Molihan. As a true symbol of the Christian covenant marriage, Keith and Judy celebrated 59 years of marriage on July 15, 2020.
Rio Grande College was where Keith obtained his bachelor’s degree and went on to become a teacher, and later a principal, at Wilton Elementary. He later left education to embark on a storied career working feverishly and cleverly on issues and programs that give a helping hand to people in poverty in Appalachian Ohio. He worked a short time for a rural health organization in southern Ohio and then became CEO of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization (CAO). He worked for 35 years at CAO with a team of hardworking, committed and brilliant people. The CAO staff were like family to him.
Keith was active in and was elected to leadership positions in state and federal community action associations which helped elevate his work in Ironton and lead to funding opportunities that previously had not been afforded to the region. Testifying at the Ohio statehouse and before Congress, Keith mastered the art of advocacy for southern Ohio.
In addition to his work at CAO, Keith simultaneously showed his commitment to Lawrence County by revitalizing Ironton Iron Incorporated (III), an iron foundry. Ultimately, he helped III transition to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP), a huge accomplishment for the employees as it was one of the first ESOPs in the State.
Recognizing the importance of banking, Keith, with the help of many committed leaders in the area, worked to establish a local bank in Ironton, Ohio River Bank. Ohio River Bank was later purchased by Premier Bank where Keith served the board of directors even in retirement. He also served on the board of the Ohio University Southern Campus.
When Keith left CAO, the retirement party featured a beautiful cake of a lake with fish and a fishing pole – a symbol of his long held belief that it is more valuable to teach a person to fish than to hand a person some fish. That is how he lived his life and how he taught his children and grandchildren. Keith received a number of awards and recognitions throughout the years, but you would never hear about that from him. Along with diligence and hard work, humility was one of his hallmark attributes.
Upon retirement, Keith and Judy purchased a farm in Vinton County where today they raise black angus cattle and sell hay. Keith absolutely loved his farm and enjoyed nothing more than driving his grandkids throughout the property on a Gator or working the property with Jimmie Cossin. Keith enjoyed fishing, hunting and hosting deer hunters in season. Keith and Judy are members of the Trinity United Methodist Church, Bidwell, where they both have served on a number of committees, and they also occasionally attend the Wilkesville Presbyterian Church.
Keith is survived by his devoted wife, Judy; his proud and grateful daughter, Belinda Molihan Jones; his sisters, Jeannie Fagan (Bill) and Lisa Lancaster (Rick); grandchildren, Logan Jones (Layne), Trent Molihan Jones, Hannah Jones Zimmerer (Bobby); and numerous friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Paul Molihan; his mother, Gerry Molihan; and his son, Brian Keith Molihan, who passed away on August 1, 1979, 41 years ago on the same date as Keith’s passing.
A Graveside service celebrating Keith’s life will be held on Tuesday, August 4, 2020, at 1:00 pm in Radcliff Cemetery, Radcliff, Ohio.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Vinton County Education Foundation, Brian Molihan Memorial Scholarship, 307 West High Street, McArthur, Ohio 45651.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of R.M. Williams Funeral Service, 120 W. Broadway St., Wellston, who is honored to care for the Molihan Family.
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Vinton County Education Foundation, Brian Molihan Memorial Scholarship
307 West High Street, McArthur OH 45651