Molly H. Hendren-Stuckey, a violinist from age 9 and an alumna of the Toledo Youth Orchestra who played in the Toledo Symphony and retired as music teacher and orchestra director at Maumee High School, died Jan. 4 in the University of Toledo Medical Center, the former Medical College of Ohio Hospital. She was 58.
Her death was unexpected, her sister, Marne Westfall, said. Ms. Hendren-Stuckey had a medical condition that was being treated, but developed flulike symptoms. She was found unconscious in her South Toledo home. She appeared to have been practicing for an upcoming Toledo Symphony concert, her sister said.
At the next concerts, Jan. 12 and 13, the symphony’s president, Zak Vassar, told Peristyle audiences of Ms. Hendren-Stuckey’s death and spoke of the loss to the orchestra family, said Dana Mader, a close friend who also plays violin in the symphony.
For the second concert, only a white rose occupied the chair placed at Ms. Hendren-Stuckey’s place in the violin section.
“She was such a beautiful soul,” Ms. Mader said. “I don’t even know how I can get over it right now. She was such a part of my life and the orchestra.”
Ms. Hendren-Stuckey was a private person and, though a performer, not showy.
“It was all about her students,” her sister said
She retired in 2014 after 17 years with the Maumee schools, where she taught music in the high school and directed the orchestra.
“She’s brought up some really good students through the years,” Ms. Mader said. “She kept in touch with them and helped them along the way.”
Ms. Hendren-Stuckey, in addition to her Toledo Symphony duties, still played with colleagues in small ensembles, gave private violin lessons, and in retirement was an occasional substitute teacher in the Perrysburg schools.
She taught for 15 years in the Toledo Public Schools, where her assignments included Oakdale and DeVeaux.
“Her philosophy was that music should be for everyone, and no matter what your social or economic situation, there should be a way for everyone to have access to an instrument and lessons,” her sister said. “It wasn’t about money. It was about the music and doing what their passion was all about.”
She was born April 3, 1959, to Arlene and Richard Hendren, both schoolteachers. Her mother, a violinist in her youth, located a quarter-size violin for young Molly to begin on.
Her first teacher was Robert Haddad, a former student of her mother’s, who went on to be a music educator. She later studied with Betty Foster, a founding member of the Toledo Symphony who taught generations of violinists.
“How fortunate is anyone to find their passion at any age,” her sister said.
Ms. Hendren-Stuckey played with the Toledo Youth Orchestra and, in May, 1976, was the featured soloist in the Peristyle for the annual spring concert. She was a 1977 graduate of Rogers High School, where she was a cheerleader and homecoming queen her senior year, her sister said.
She received a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Michigan, where she was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota, the music fraternity.
Ms. Hendren-Stuckey was a volunteer at a Maumee food pantry and at First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Maumee, where she was a member.
“She felt her faith was her strength,” her sister said.
Surviving are her son, Austin Stuckey, and sister, Marne Westfall.
There will be no services. At her request, her body was donated to UT’s college of medicine, the former MCO.
The family suggests tributes to the alumni scholarship society of UM’s school of music, theater, and dance; the Toledo Symphony League remembrance fund; the Under One Roof Food Pantry at St Paul’s Episcopal Church, Maumee, or First Church of Christ, Scientist, Maumee.
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