Jackson County

TatoNut patriarch Robert Mohler dies at 95


Robert Mohler founded the Tatonut Donut Shop in Ocean Springs in 1960.
Robert Mohler founded the Tatonut Donut Shop in Ocean Springs in 1960.

A South Mississippi business legend has died.

Robert Gerald “Bob” Mohler, the founder of TatoNut Donut Shop, died at home Friday. He was 95.

TatoNut has been a staple of Coast pastry diets since it opened at 1114 Government St. in Ocean Springs in 1960. The Mohler family created a special recipe for its doughnuts that used potato flour instead of wheat flour.

It is now owned by Robert Mohler’s son and daughter-in-law, David and Theresa Mohler.

The shop closed Saturday in observance of the founder’s death.

Mohler was born June 23, 1921, in Buffalo, New York. After graduating from Ocean Springs High School, he went on to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He trained as a pilot with the Navy and worked as an air traffic control instructor at Fort Bliss Air Force Base in El Paso, Texas, and at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi.

Afterward, he earned a bachelor of science degree from Mississippi State University and a masters degree in education from the University of Southern Mississippi.

He lettered as a football player at MSU and went on to play with the Biloxi Galloping Gales semi-pro football team as well as a Biloxi semi-pro baseball team.

He married the woman who would be his wife for 62 years, Verona Marion Fountain, on Aug. 15, 1953, at Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Biloxi.

Besides starting up TatoNut, Mohler was a partner in the Nash auto dealership in Biloxi; started the Tidy Car detail shop in Ocean Springs; and bought the Texaco station at the corner of Washington and Porter avenues in Ocean Springs.

He is survived by his wife, six of his seven sons and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Visitation is 5 p.m. Wednesday at Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home in Ocean Springs, with services at 7. In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations to Red Bird Mission, 70 Queendale Center, Beverly KY 40913.

Justin Vicory: 228-896-2326, @justinvicory