Many Summerlin-area residents know the name Molasky because of Irwin and Susan Molasky Junior High School at 7801 W. Gilmore Ave.
Namesake Irwin Molasky said the honor of having it named for him and his wife "came out of the blue. I was in Europe and got word that the school district voted unanimously to name it after us. It was quite an honor."
Besides the school, there is also a park named for the Molaskys near Twain Avenue and Maryland Parkway.
So, who is Irwin Molasky? As a young man, he attended Ohio State University for a year before transferring to the University of California, Los Angeles. He took on construction jobs to support himself and did everything from hauling lumber to ordering supplies.
Still in his teens, he took the entrepreneurial plunge and started to design and construct his own projects. First was an apartment house. It was a sure-fire dream, but he could not qualify for a loan without a co-signer. The loan was for about $40,000.
"It was not a big loan, but it was worth the world to me," he said.
He ended up forging his father’s name, something he chuckles about when he looks back.
Molasky was drafted in the late 1940s but was discharged before the Korean War. Seeing construction opportunities, he came to Las Vegas in 1951. Since then, Molasky’s touch has graced many projects in Las Vegas. Not all of them went as planned.
"I struggled and lost money," he said. "It wasn’t all a bed of roses."
One wouldn’t know it from the list of projects he accomplished. They included teaming up with Merv Adelson —- who started Market Town, the city’s first 24-hour food store —- and founding Paradise Development Co., which built the Paradise Palms neighborhood. From 1957-59, they sold a house every day. Back then, houses sold for $30,000 to $40,000.
They also built The Boulevard Mall, as well as many business and commercial developments around Las Vegas. He and Adelson donated 35 acres of prime land to start the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Near San Diego, they built the world-famous La Costa Resort and Spa.
For a time, Molasky was involved in TV shows and was a partner in Lorimar Productions, which gave America "The Waltons," "Knots Landing" and the mega-hit "Dallas." Movies the company produced include "Sybil," "Being There" and "An Officer and a Gentleman."
Even as his list of successes grew, so did his family. The Molaskys had seven children between them and 13 grandchildren. In September 2011, they welcomed their sixth great-grandchild, Ruby.
When it came to projects, Molasky said his pride and joy was Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center. He and Adelson helped establish it in 1958. They ensured that it focused on babies and children. Molasky would later appreciate that effort when his newborn granddaughter had a complication. The neonatal unit provided the baby with the highest quality care then available. Twenty-six years later, that granddaughter is now the mother of little Ruby.
Molasky also co-founded the Nathan Adelson Hospice. CEO Carole Fisher called him humble, real and down-to-earth.
"What an innovator … to look ahead, to see a need for end-of-life care," she said.
With the economic downturn, Molasky kept ahead of the curve by focusing on constructing government buildings. Last October, he was in San Diego for the unveiling of one of four FBI facilities his company is building.
Now in his mid-80s, Molasky said he has no reason to slow down or stop working. Retirement is not exactly his favorite word.
"I enjoy working," he said. "I enjoy interacting with young professional people. It keeps me younger."
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 387-2949.Naming Las Vegas
The history behind the naming of various streets, parks, schools, public facilities and other landmarks in the Las Vegas Valley will continue to be explored in a series of feature stories appearing in View editions published on the first Tuesday of every month.
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