by Linda Klinger
SPANGLE, Wash., June 9, 2014 -
Eric Molstead, an accomplished pilot and an aero maintenance director, knew airplanes backward and forward, inside and out. So it was natural that he flew an airplane to his 25th class reunion at Upper Columbia Academy (UCA) in 2005. Following a wonderful time with his classmates and friends, Molstead headed back home to Vancouver, Wash.
However, unbeknownst to him, the plane he had borrowed for the trip had a carbon monoxide leak in its muffler. About five minutes before landing, Molstead succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning. His plane crashed on the south side of the Columbia River.
His parents, Richard and Anita Molstead, and his sister, Michele Molstead, recently established a memorial Scholarship Fund at the UCA Foundation in Eric’s memory. Richard Molstead says, “The loss of our son and brother has been devastating, but like many others we want to turn our tragedy into something of value, something that will have a positive impact for good.”
“The purpose of the Eric Molstead Scholarship Fund is to provide financial support for young women at UCA who have an interest in math and science. Educational research has shown that women are under-represented in science and technology careers. Hopefully the Eric Molstead Scholarship will enhance girls’ beliefs about their math/science abilities,” says Richard. The $1,000 Eric Molstead scholarship is renewable each year for students who remain at UCA and who maintain a 3.5 GPA.
This past February, Richard and Anita Molstead drove from Arizona to Spangle, Wash., especially to present the first Eric Molstead scholarships. Following their introduction, the UCA student body gave them a hearty standing ovation.
Fourteen UCA students completed the application process. “All the applicants wrote great essays,” says Karl Peach, UCA Foundation scholarship committee chairman, “so it was a very tough job to narrow the list to three.”
The winners of the 2014 awards were:
Freshman: Emma Tucker — a future astronomy/astrophysics teacher or researcher;
Sophomore: Lili Mackin — a future orthopedic missionary doctor;
Junior: Madeleine Everett — a future surgeon.
“We were surprised by the large number of applicants.” says Richard. “It broke our hearts to turn down the other eleven. Truly, every essay was worthy of an award. We want to build our fund to the point that we can offer many more scholarships.”
The Molstead family welcomes voluntary support. Gifts for the Eric Molstead Scholarship Fund may be sent to the UCA Foundation, P.O. Box 31382, Spokane, WA 99223 or contributed online at www.ucafoundation.org.
The UCA Foundation is pleased to partner with families who wish to memorialize a loved one and thereby make a lasting difference for UCA students. Learn more about Named Endowments and the UCA Foundation.