Donald “Lynn” Molen, a beloved member of the Minerva Lions community, passed away June 15, 2024, after battling cancer for the past year.

Born March 12, 1945, in Canton, Lynn was the son of John and Mabel Molen.

He was preceded in death by his father, John Molen in 1977; his brother, David Molen in 1988; and his mother, Mabel Molen in 2016.

He is survived by his adopted son, Jordan Reckner and Jordan’s fiancé, Trisha O’Brien, both of the home, and countless former players, students, and friends.

Lynn was a proud member of the Minerva High School Class of 1963, where he served as class president. He continued his education at Kent State University, graduating in 1968 with a bachelor’s degree in education. His passion for teaching and coaching led him to dedicate 43 years of his life to the Minerva Local School District. Lynn served as the head football coach of the Minerva Lions during two tenures, from 1985-89 and again from 1992-98. He holds the honor of being the winningest football coach in school history with an impressive 93-27 overall record. Under his leadership, the Minerva Lions achieved significant success, including five league championships (1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1997) and two Associated Press State Championships (1987 and 1997). He was the head coach of three other teams who finished in the Associated Press Top 10 (1989 #2, 1988 #4, and 1998 #6). In addition to being the head football coach he also spent 19 years as an assistant football coach, and 30 years as an assistant basketball coach. During his time as a coach, he was a part of 18 football and basketball league championships. He was inducted into the Minerva Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.

Beyond coaching, Lynn was a highly respected educator who taught a wide range of subjects before focusing on eighth grade math for the last 17 years of his career. His dedication and impact were recognized when he was named the 2003 Minerva Local School teacher of the year. He was also selected as a William Jennings Scholar, named the Phi Kappa Delta Educator of the year, and played a pivotal role as a lead math teacher through the Math Vision Project lead by the Stark County ESC. In 2009, he was inducted into the Minerva Alumni Hall of Fame.

Lynn’s legacy extends far beyond his professional accomplishments. He was known for his unwavering support and mentorship, touching the lives of numerous students, friends, and colleagues alike. His caring nature and ability to counsel others made him a cherished friend and mentor in the community.

Calling hours will be held Thursday, June 20, 2024, at Gotschall-Hutchison Funeral Home from 4-7 p.m., followed by a Celebration of Life service at 7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Minerva Local Schools football program in Coach Molen’s memory.

We would like to thank Aultman Woodlawn’s Compassionate Care Center and his Hospice Nurse, Kelly Lautzenheiser for the care they gave to Mr. Molen in his last days. 

Donald Lynn Molen will be deeply missed, but forever remembered for his dedication to education, his passion for coaching, and his compassionate spirit that touched the lives of so many. He truly lived with “The Heart of a Lion”.