Molly O. Molter, boat decorator

Molly O. Molter, boat decorator

Molly O. Molter, the last surviving member of the family that owned Owens Yacht Co., who was known as "The Lady Boat Builder," died May 2 of respiratory failure at Genesis Eldercare Spa Creek Center in Annapolis. She was 104.

The daughter of Charles C. Owens, a vice president of Westinghouse Electric Corp., and Mary Agnes Glynn Owens, a homemaker, the former Molly Glynn Owens was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and moved with her family to Detroit in 1912.


In 1925, they settled in Annapolis, where Mrs. Molter graduated from high school. After graduating from a business school in Washington in 1930, she worked as the secretary to the president of St. John's College in Annapolis.

She was married in 1935 to Fred Warner and moved to London. With the outbreak of World War II, she returned to Annapolis, and in 1940 joined her four brothers who were operating the Owens Yacht Co. Mr. Warner died in 1949.

Mrs. Molter, who was the company's public relations officer, later took over designing the interiors of the company's fabled yachts, earning the sobriquet of "The Lady Boat Builder."

In 1957, the company switched from designing and building wooden boats to fiberglass vessels. The company also developed a line of Owens flagship V8 marine engines.

Mrs. Molter retired in 1961 after the company was sold to the Brunswick Corp.

In 1978, she married Charles C. "Duke" Molter, and the couple moved to a home on Back Creek near Annapolis.

Mr. Molter, who was the chief inspector at the U.S. Naval Experimental Station, died in 1980.

She was a member for 40 years of the Daughters of the American Revolution. In 2009, when she celebrated her 100th birthday, the City of Annapolis declared it Molly Owens Molter Day.

Mrs. Molter enjoyed researching her family genealogy and dancing.

A nephew, David Owens, said his aunt followed no particular exercise or dietary regimen.

"I attribute it to good genes and pure luck," said Mr. Owens, who lives in Ruxton. "She subscribed to drinking one glass of red wine a day for good health."

She was a communicant of St. James' Parish Episcopal Church, 5757 Solomons Island Road, in Lothian, where funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. May 24.

In addition to Mr. Owens, Mrs. Molter is survived by many other nieces and nephews.