Molly Sarson (left) is pictured in 2013 with fellow Softball Team seniors Jessica Guevara, Emily Mangiaratti and Rian Powers.
Lesley alumni and community members are mourning the loss of alumna Molly Sarson, who died June 1 at age 29 after battling coronavirus.
Sarson earned her bachelor of science in Business Management in 2013 and was a member of the championship Lesley Softball team from 2009 to 2013.
“Molly was best known as a great softball player, but she was also one of kindest and most hardworking people at Lesley,” recalls friend Kevin DeCosta ’12.
“We lost a member of our community,” says friend and former teammate Rian Powers ’13. “She fought COVID hard, but was unable to survive. … We’ve lost an incredible part of our lives.”
Molly came to Lesley from Sanford, Maine, and quickly became a beloved member of the community who was a team player in all respects, whether stepping in to don the Lesley Lynx mascot costume or creating artful and delicious baked goods for friends’ birthday celebrations.
“Molly was a very special young woman who made a positive impact on all of the lives she touched,” recalls former Director of Athletics and Softball Coach Jen (Benway) Viana. “She was kind, thoughtful and selfless.”
“Molly was an amazing person,” adds current Lesley Director of Athletics Stephanie Smyrl, who knew Sarson as an intern when Smyrl worked at the former Wheelock College.
Sarson’s team won the NECC championship title all four years, and she finished her career with a .336 batting average, 148 hits, 87 runs and 84 RBIs.
Softball teammate Emily Mangiaratti ’13 recalls Sarson’s calming presence on the diamond.
“I was a bit of a hothead during my college softball career, and every time I would get upset, Molly was really the only person on the team who calmed me down and made me feel better,” says Mangiaratti. “She would walk up to me in this calm way that only Molly could do and she would put her arm around me and just stand there with me. … Then, after a minute or two, she would say, ‘You can do this.’”
“A life without Molly seems unbearable,” says Powers, “but at the end of the day, I know I am a better person … than I would have been had I not had her as my best friend for the last 12 years.”
Read remembrances from former Lesley teammates, classmates, coaches and friends.
From Jen (Benway) Viana, former Lesley athletics director and softball coach:
“Molly was a very special young woman who made a positive impact on all of the lives she touched. She was kind, thoughtful and selfless. A true team player, Molly would do anything to help her team win. The Lesley softball family will miss her greatly.”
From Kevin DeCosta ’12:
“I met Molly through Rian Powers and Emily Mangiaratti, who both lived in 16-18 Wendell in 2009. Molly was best known as a great softball player, but she was also one of kindest and most hardworking people at Lesley. She was always quietly helping people out. Whatever anyone needed, she was always there to give anything she could. She also supported donation drives on campus and worked various athletic events – making sure everything ran smoothly. She made a few appearances as the Lesley Lynx (mascot) as well. Molly was also a fantastic artist. She was often the person who would bring desserts to a party, designing detailed cakes and cupcakes of any and all varieties. Above all, Molly could make anyone laugh. Whether it was because she tripped over thin air, was always ready with a line from a movie, or a meme that was absolutely hilarious.”
From Alyson (Durben) Grady ’11:
“When I first met Molly, it was easy to tell she had a kind heart. She became an important part of our team quickly. She was valuable to us on the field, but she was an even more integral piece of our team’s culture. Molly was quick to celebrate others, yet unassuming in nature. She was the definition of a true team player. She was funny, clumsy, selfless, and kind. The world was better with Molly in it, and I know I’m better off having known her. She will be missed!”
From Cassandra Knox ’12:
“I will always remember Molly being the most kind, passionate and uplifting person. Even if she was having a bad game, she was always my support and gave me a pep talk when I most needed it. My fondest memories are just being goofy with her during warmup pitching, throwing a crazy pitch and her just giving me a silly look back like no big deal, you got the next one! Her life will be forever cherished in my softball memories and time at Lesley.”
From Emily Mangiaratti ’13:
“I have so many awesome memories of Molly that I don’t really know where to start! The first I heard of Molly was way back before college when Jen Benway showed up to one of my travel ball showcase tournaments to watch me play, but also told me about this amazing catcher that she was there to watch. Little did I know that was Molly! I officially met Molly my freshman year of college because we were both playing on the softball team and my college roommate, Rian, and her bonded over both being from Maine and the three of us became fast friends. Over the years we shared many awesome memories together, from sledding down a pile of snow in the Shaw's parking lot after a massive snowstorm in Cambridge pretty much shut the whole city down, to sneaking into other people’s seats at Red Sox games and then pretending we were in the wrong section when they came. One really funny memory I have is the time I went up to Maine during winter break and Rian and Molly and I went skiing and snowboarding. We spent most of the night falling around the mountain and having a great time. When we got home, we were all pretty tired from being out all day, and Molly ended up falling asleep in Rian’s bed. She passed right out, because at one point we tried to wake her up, but she was out. I remember Rian's mom yelling ‘Molly there is a fire!’ to try and wake her up, but still nothing. Rian and me spent most of the night yelling ‘Molly wake up there is a fire!’ and then laughing while she continued to sleep peacefully.
“Through all these silly memories I remember Molly for the way she always knew how to make me feel better. I was a bit of a hothead during my college softball career, and every time I would get upset, Molly was really the only person on the team who calmed me down and made me feel better. She would walk up to me in this calm way that only Molly could do and she would put her arm around me and just stand there with me. She wouldn’t try to disregard my feelings or try to brush it off and say everything will be OK, but instead she stood there with me, a silent, calm support. Then, after a minute or two, she would say, ‘You can do this,’ and walk away. Looking back on it now, it really helped me get my head back into the game. We have made so many memories over the years that it’s a little daunting to write this, trying to sort out everything you experienced together in the 12 years that I knew her. I wish she was still here so that I could continue to make memories with her, but I will truly always cherish the ones I was able to make.”
From Rian Powers ’13:
“The only thing I can think to say about Molly is that she was the most kind, selfless, and caring person on this planet. She was always there for me anytime I needed her. I think she learned that from her family. They always included me like one of their own. Even in losing her, I’ve been in contact with her family. As much as I’ve tried to be there for them, they’ve really been there for me. We’ve lost an incredible part of our lives, and even through that, they’ve stayed the same caring, wonderful people I’ve known for 12 years. A life without Molly seems unbearable, but at the end of the day, I know I am a better person, friend, sister, aunt, etc., than I would have been had I not had her as my best friend for the last 12 years.”
From Jordan Thomas ’16:
“I remember Molly and I getting ready for the NECC championship tournament. We were the No. 1seed and expected to do well, but I couldn’t shake my nerves. I was a freshman, and Molly was a senior who carried herself with such composure all the time. I was pacing the dugout before taking the mound and speakers were blaring ‘Started from the Bottom’ by Drake. I think Molly could sense my anxiety because she came up to me dancing and singing. Instead of the original lyrics, she was yelling, ‘started at the top and we maintained!’ In that moment she made me laugh and reminded me how capable we were as a team. We deserved to be there and we were going to play like it. All athletes know what a testament it is to a person’s character to be called a great teammate, and that’s exactly who Molly was. Mentally, physically, and emotionally she showed up for us day in and day out. We were so lucky to have her at the core of our team.”
From Delani (Belyea) Townsend ’13, ’15 G:
“So many of my best memories include Molly. She was a bridesmaid in my wedding, an honorary aunt to my son and a treasure of a friend. Molly was the kind of friend who always put others first and truly enjoyed giving and doing for others. She was talented, creative, funny and kind. She was the most generous and selfless person I’ve ever met. She will be missed by many and never forgotten. Her memory will always live on in our Lesley family. We love and miss you, Molly.”