Bob Mohler passed away peacefully, with his wife at his side, on March 2, 2012. He was born Robert Edison Mohler on Feb. 5, 1918, in Malinta, Ohio, to Simon and Bertha Mohler.
Bob served four years in World War II as a machine gunner and later an engineer in North Africa, and toward the end of the war in Sicily and Italy, for some of this time under General Patton. Bob was awarded five Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart. On Aug. 2, he and his wife, Betty, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary.
Prior to coming to Moab for the first of two stays, he worked as a painting contractor in Toledo, Ohio, moving from the small town to the “big city” at the age of 18. Here, he worked with his brothers John and Dick, prior to the war. After the war, with wife and daughter, Anne (Diane), he headed west, stopping first in Barker Village, Ariz., before hearing about Moab from George White. Knowing that there were, as George described it, “a lot of living people” in Moab, that is where he decided to go next with immediate family and his brother Dick. On arriving in Moab, they first did some remodeling and later bought a lumber yard (losing money each year until they sold it). Where the Poplar Place now stands was the lumber yard and building.
In the 1950s, Bob and brother Dick were part of the uranium boom, knowing others like Charlie Steen, and all pursuing the elusive “yellow cake.” During this period is when the three sets of brothers, Nick and Felix Murphy, Nate and Hardwater Knight, and the two Mohler brothers along with Howard Shields, were able to develop the old Shafer Trail (game and cattle trail) into an actual road (full of awesome switchbacks now for mountain bikers to enjoy) in order to have access to claims on the valley floor.
In a visit with Sam Taylor, published in The Times-Independent several years ago, Bob mentioned, “I remember Nick Murphy, my brother Dick and I going to the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to propose the building of this road and to seek some assistance. The answer was an emphatic ‘no,’ but they said (with a smile) we will give you permission to go ahead and do it on your own. …After the road was down, we again went to the AEC to seek some help in widening our switchbacks. This time, the answer was a rather sheepish ‘yes’. I guess they figured we could never do it.” Toward the end of the discussion with Sam, Bob stated, “The Shafer Trail has become a rather important part of our tourist attractions. I often wonder why no one has ever thought of putting up a plaque in honor of the hardy pioneers who built it. First it was a game trail, and then the Shafer brothers improved it for a stock trail. Three sets of brothers, along with Howard Shields, improved it to a road trail. Perhaps it should be called the Trail of the Brothers. That has an old Spanish ring.”
Bob was preceded in death by his brothers, John and Richard; sisters, Lucille Corfman and Donna Ballmer; and his grandson, John Scholz. Bob is survived by his wife, Betty; daughter, Anne Smith; sons, Robert and John; granddaughters, Beth Scholz and Jennifer Mohler; and grandsons, Jeremy, Jonathan, Sean and Kelly Mohler.
Graveside services were held March 9 at Sunset Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Moab.
Interment followed at Sunset Memorial Gardens.