Norman Matthew Mohar, 92, passed away peacefully of natural causes in the arms of his beloved wife, Mickey, on Saturday, October 31, 2015.
Norman was born November 11, 1922 in the homestead that still stands on Mohar Road at the base of Mt. Peoh, South Cle Elum, Washington.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Anna and Anton Mohar, his sister, Ella and his brothers, John and Donald.
Norman received his schooling at the Lower Peoh Point School in South Cle Elum. He loved music and was part of his high school band and orchestra, and while growing up he was part of his dad’s musical band, “The Tony Mohar Orchestra”. He, his mother, his father and brother Donald, played at many functions, dances and establishments in Cle Elum and Roslyn.
After graduation, Norman enlisted in the Army in 1943 where he served honorably as a Sergeant in the Third Infantry Division. He was a proud and brave soldier receiving the Purple Heart, the Soldiers Medal and the Bronze Star for Valor.
While in the Army, Norman was part of the singing group, “The Westernaires”. He played the string bass and sang which earned him his nickname, “Bing”. The Westernaires played backup to singing legend Gene Autry.
Norman served in the European Theatre during WWII and fought bravely at Anzio, Italy. On D-Day he was in Rome when the US took back Italy. His memories of his service years were sharp, as were his memories of his entire life. He wrote his memoirs and once they were posted online, he made many new friends anxious to hear and learn more of his story. After realizing that his dad had been in the Third ID with Norman, Lee Hatfield of Connecticut became a fast and steady friend of Norman’s. Lee and Norman felt a direct and instant connection from their very first encounter. They stayed in contact via email and skype. Despite never meeting in person, they were the best of friends.
After an honorable discharge, Norman returned home to Cle Elum where he continued to help on the family farm. On a blind date, he met his soon to be bride, Mickey Thompson, at a family picnic. They married on November 11, 1948 and began farming in Grandview, Washington along with his brother, Donald. Norman farmed apples and other crops for 50 years on the Roza. It was a hard, backbreaking life, but never did he complain and his family never wanted. His family always came first.
While living in Grandview, Norman was a member and past President of the Farm Bureau. He was active in the Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church where he was a member of the choir, the Knights of Columbus and also taught CCD. He instructed many students on how to play the guitar after those CCD lessons. Norman was a member of the Friendly Finley Farmer band and was invited to play in the Bi-Centennial Celebration by the Tri-Cities Philharmonic Opera in 1976. He sang in a barbershop quartet and was a member of the Thompson Family Band which performed at the annual family reunion.
When Norman moved to Yakima, he and Mickey became acquainted with the Harmon Senior Center. Norman sang and played his keyboard for the Wednesday dances while the audience danced, sang along and requested songs. If he didn’t know a particular song, he and Mickey would find it and he would learn it for the next dance. Norman and Mickey hosted many summer BBQ’s for their Harmon Center friends.
Norman’s father hailed from Croatia. In 1984, he traveled to Croatia to visit family and learn more of his father’s homeland. Norman was very proud of his heritage and attended many Croatian picnics and activities in Roslyn. At an early age he learned to sing and play many Croatian Folk songs on his accordion. At age 91, he won the coveted award of being the “Oldest Croat” in attendance and received the much sought after new bottle of “Slivovetz”.
Norman is survived by his loving, beautiful and devoted wife, Mickey (Maxine) of 66 years; he was extremely proud of his four daughters, Sandra, Toni, Cynthia and Nancy. His cup runneth over with 9 grandchildren: Matthew, Maria, Mandy, Paula, Kelley, Laura, Charlie, Michel and Don. Adding to his legacy are 7 great-grandchildren, Christina, Camille, Owen, Logan, Oliver, Madeline and Samantha and one great-great-granddaughter, Caroline. Norman is also survived by his younger sister, Ann and his sister-in-law, Isabel Mohar and numerous nieces and nephews.
The flags of the USA and the third Infantry Division will continue to fly high at the family’s home in honor of Norman. If you would like to read more about Norman, go to http://sgtnormanmohar.com/.
The family suggests donation be sent to the Catholic Family & Child Services, c/o Brookside Funeral Home & Crematory, PO Box 1267, Moxee WA 98936.
The family of Norman would like to extend special thanks and gratitude to his friends Frank Coburn, and Lee Hatfield, neighbors Gary & Karen Jackson and Bill Adams and the Hospice Team.
Funeral Services will be Saturday, November 7, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Brookside Funeral Home & Crematory, 500 W. Prospect, Moxee. Interment will follow in West Hills Memorial Park with Military Honors. Visit www.brooksidefhc.com to share a memory or story of Norman.