Surrounded by family, friends and local officials, Harold Mohr celebrated his 101st birthday at 12 p.m. on July 21 with cupcakes, cards, decorations, and pictures. Earlier in the day, children from the Bainbridge Summer Playground program stopped by with their well wishes and painted rocks, which decorated the sidewalk of Mohr’s Bainbridge home.
Mohr was the third of seven children born to Wilbur and Sarah Mohr. Of the children (Marguaretta, Wilbur, Harold, Jim, Gene, Herb and Donald), he is the only one still living.
According to Mohr’s children Mary Prokopchak and Dennis Mohr, he enlisted in U.S. Army at age 15 when his father passed away. His brother Wilbur gave permission for him to join, in place of sending him to the Hershey Industrial School (now Milton Hershey School). He served from 1935 to 1940, spending three of those years in Panama.
Mohr married Mary Elizabeth Witman on Nov. 4, 1939, when he was 19 and she was 17. According to Mary and Dennis, the two had traveled to West Virginia to serve as witnesses for another couple who planned to get married there, because the marriage age was lower than in Pennsylvania. While there, Harold and Mary Elizabeth decided to get married as well.
The couple had three children before Harold was drafted into the U.S. Army again in 1945 for one more year. He served as a replacement soldier in Korea HQ Division, 7th Infantry Division. After he left active service, he worked at the Olmstead Air Force Base in Middletown for 27.5 years and then as a building inspector for the General State Authority for 15 years.
He and Mary Elizabeth had eight children in all: the late Sheila Doutrich, Sandra Moore, Harold Mohr Jr., Dennis, Mary, Jerry Mohr, the late Donald Mohr, and Rodney Mohr. Harold now has 20 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.
Harold was a charter member of the Word of Life Chapel in Bainbridge and is still a member today. In his free time, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and riding four-wheelers. He also enjoyed baseball and played on a team with three of his brothers as a young adult.
Harold and Mary Elizabeth celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary before she passed away in 2015 at age 93.
This year, Harold’s birthday wishes were humble. When Harold’s caregiver Ronda Bretz asked him what he wanted, he had his answer ready.
“Well, I already have my ticket to heaven, so I just don’t need anything else,” he replied.
As Bretz recounted the story, she said, “He’s that kind of man.”
Anne Garber is a correspondent for The Elizabethtown Advocate.