By Bob Skolnik
An 18-year-old Marine from Riverside was killed Jan. 5 after being struck by a hit-and-run driver in San Diego.
Victor Molinar Jr. graduated from Riverside-Brookfield High School in May 2018. He had finished boot camp and was undergoing combat infantry training at Camp Pendleton. He was out some buddies last Saturday in the Midway district of San Diego. Police are still investigating the incident and have not found the driver of the car that hit him.
According to news reports, Molinar had been at a bar and grill with friends but had somehow gotten separated from them prior to getting hit by the car.
Molinar had always wanted to be a soldier, according to his sister, Jessica Molinar. When he was 16, he decided he wanted to become a Marine.
"He always told us that when he was going to grow up he was going to join the military," Jessica Molinar said. "We were very proud of him. We always had an idea that he was going to join the military."
He developed his fascination with the military, watching war movies as a child.
Molinar enlisted in the Marines early in his senior year at RBHS, taking his oath on Sept. 11, 2017 under the Marines' delayed-entry program. He reported for boot camp on July 23, 2018, less than two months after walking across the stage at the RBHS gym to receive his diploma.
His father, mother, stepmother, two sisters, two aunts, and his godmother all went out to San Diego in October to watch his graduation from boot camp. They saw a boy who had become a man.
"He was mature, grown and respectful," Jessica Molinar said.
His sister said Victor liked being a Marine.
"He took pride in being a Marine," Jessica Molinar said. "He considered the Marines his brothers, his family."
Molinar lived in Cicero before moving to Riverside right before starting high school. He was a quiet, respectful student at RBHS who did not participate in any extracurricular activities.
"Victor was a quiet young man who was very motivated to serve his country as a Marine," said RBHS teacher Dave Monti, who taught Molinar zoology last year. "He was very proud of his enlistment and eager to graduate and go to basic training."
Molinar was in Patty Young's geometry class his sophomore year.
"Victor was the type of student who treated others with respect on a daily basis," Young said. "He was held in high esteem by staff and his fellow classmates."
While Molinar was often quiet at RBHS, he came alive with his family and friends. He loved to tell jokes and make people laugh.
"He just knew how to make you smile," said Jessica Molinar. "He was just basically a comedian. He just always had something good, something funny to say. He joked about almost everything. He was always happy."
He was very close to Jessica, who is three years older.
After serving in the military Molinar wanted to become a firefighter.
"He just was passionate about serving the country and helping other people," Jessica Molinar said. "He was an optimist. He was always giving and caring for other people."
He was a big fan of NASCAR, enjoyed swimming and going to the lake.
Last year he became serious with a girl, Julissa Tello, of Chicago. They talked of a future together and planned to get married.
"He really enjoyed hanging out with his friends, his fiancé, swimming," Jessica Molinar said.
He previously worked at County Line Pizza in Elmhurst.
In addition to his fiancé and his sisters, Victor Molinar leaves behind his mother Marina Ramirez, his father Victor Molinar Sr. and a host of other relatives.
Funeral arrangements are still pending.
"He was a noble man," Jessica Molinar said. "He will be forever missed and we love him."