Donald J. Mohr, a former longtime resident of the Vineyard who for many years led the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby as its chairman, died on Sept. 20 in Atlanta, Ga. He was 89.
A former Marine, educator, coach and college athletic director, Mr. Mohr and his wife of 44 years, Marian, moved to the Island following his retirement in 1981. He would spend 26 years on Martha’s Vineyard, developing a reputation as an affable fishing friend and well-respected leader of the derby.
It was a role he took to easily, as he enjoyed a long career devoted to letting others prove their potential at Wright State University.
Mr. Mohr began his career at the school in 1966 as head of the financial aid, placement and veterans offices. Soon after, he began work forming an athletic department for the coming 1968-69 school year. He was named the school’s first director of athletics in April 1971, a position he held until his retirement.
During his tenure, Wright State started 14 sports, including five for women. He spent four years as chairman of the Great Lakes Division II Regional Advisory committee and one year as a member of the national selection committee. He also was a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Assoication’s Committee on Committees, one of the organization’s most prestigious appointments. Under his leadership, swimming placed fourth in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women while the men placed 21st in the NCAA. Golf advanced to four NCAA tournaments and placed as high as 19th. The volleyball team won state and regional titles, advancing to the national tournament while the women’s basketball team placed second in the OAISW Championships. Cross country, wrestling and basketball also represented the university in NCAA tournaments.
In 1985 Mr. Mohr became the first inductee into the Wright State Athletic Hall of Fame.
Prior to joining the university, Mr. Mohr attended and played football, basketball and baseball and ran track at Cincinnati’s North College Hill High School. After serving as a Marine sergeant during World War II, he received a master’s of education degree from Xavier University. He later coached and taught at Cincinnati Reading High School and scouted for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds.
Mr. Mohr and his wife spent more than two decades on Martha’s Vineyard before relocating to Georgia to be near their children. A celebration of life will be held in nearby Roswell, Ga on Saturday, Sept. 29.
Mr. Mohr is survived by his wife, Marian, as well as children Pat Hilgeman, Donna Mohr, Kathy Lattimer, Terry Mohr, Danny Mohr, Linda Leland and Steve Fletcher, 13 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and two brothers, Bob and Jack Mohr.
Memorial contributions may be made to Embracing Hospice or Wright State University Athletic Department.