OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - The Ocean Springs community is mourning the passing of an icon. David Mohler owned and operated Tatonut Donut Shop for decades and his family’s delicious donut recipe has become synonymous with must-try foods in the City of Discovery. Late Tuesday, news broke that Mohler has died.
The small bakery on Government Street, located in the heart of downtown Ocean Springs, was closed on Sunday, with signs posted indicating illness as the reason.
According to family members, Mohler had been dealing with an underlying lung disease and heart issues and was recently diagnosed with COVID-19. He died Tuesday afternoon. He is survived by his wife Theresa and daughter Katelyn.
Family, friends and longtime acquaintances are also remembering David’s efforts to better Ocean Springs.
“Him and the Mohler family have been instrumental in making Ocean Springs what it is today,” said Ocean Springs Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Cynthia Sutton.
Others remembered how he approached life. No matter the task, he always brought a smile with him.
“He always had a smile on his face, no matter if he was mixing dough and putting donuts out, or walking down the street coming out of church. He always had a smile,” said family friend Kevin Wade.
Alderman-at-Large Bobby Cox said his father worked right down the road from the Mohler family business for years and both families have been residents of the city for decades. He is now remembering Mohler as someone who always left people with a smile.
“Everybody loves Tatonut donuts and people who have come to town have left with a smile all because of the Molher family and David Mohler,” said Cox.
For family friend Scott Lemon, that is what makes the Mohler family special. Like David and Cox, he said many of them were born and raised in Ocean Springs and have been committed to bettering the city.
“The special thing about David and Theresa (Mohler) is that they’re a legacy,” said Lemon. “Their family has been here for a couple of generations. His father started the Tatonut business and they have continued it on. They have done a phenomenal job at touching so many lives.”
Several in the community have expressed that their thoughts and prayers are with the family as the push through this devastating time. Some believe that while he has moved on, he is still bringing joy to all who are around.
”There will be a huge jubilation in heaven when he starts handing out those Tatonuts,” said one South Mississippi resident.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced but will be handled by Bradford O’Keefe Funeral Services.