OCEAN SPRINGS, Miss. (WLOX) - The Mohler family and the city of Ocean Springs continues to grieve over the loss of family man and Coast icon David Mohler.
The owner of the Tatonut Donut Shop died Sunday from complications of COVID-19, said his family in a statement online.
WLOX talked with the Mohler family on Wednesday about David and what made him special.
As the third oldest of seven brothers, David learned the importance of family from a young age.
”The community watched seven boys grow up here,” said his brother Jeff Mohler. “Good, bad or ugly - there was a lot of laughter, a lot of fighting but at the end of the day, it was great work ethics. We learned how to love, how to get along; we learned how to disagree. We learned how to put it back together and come back the next day and do it again.”
Even as kids, David and his brothers would work in the donut shop under their father before school each day. After classes, they would return to help clean, doing the whole thing again the next day.
When their father came of age, it was David who stepped up and took control of the family business. Under his guidance, The Tatonut Donut Shop exploded, helping put Ocean Springs on the map.
But while the public may have known him as the maker of amazing donuts, those who knew him personally say he was so much more.
”The two words that define him best are faith and family,” said David’s other brother Mark Mohler. “His commitment to both of those really transcends certainly anything he accomplished as a business person.”
Perhaps it was those values that rallied the community for the Mohler family over a decade ago when David and Theresa’s youngest daughter Sophia was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer. Thousands walked the Ocean Springs Biloxi Bridge to raise money, and show their support.
Tragically the family lost Sophia in September of the following year but the family hasn’t forgotten the outpouring of love they witnessed all those years ago. The family is already seeing a similar attempt as they grieve the loss of David.
On Wednesday, the size of the impromptu memorial had grown greatly, serving as a reminder of the sheer number of people David had touched over his lifetime.
”I think the community has probably paid it forward, for lack of a better term, in the support that has been demonstrated of this business, of the family, of the ministries that both David and Theresa have supported,” said Mark Mohler.
It was David’s desire to help others that made him so beloved throughout South Mississippi.
”His compassion and willingness to help people was always at the top of his list,” said Jeff Mohler. “So at the end of the day, that is probably going to be the number one thing that we will miss as a family, and the community is going to miss as well.”
The family said they are so thankful for the support, but even more at peace knowing that Sophia has been reunited with her dad in heaven.
Funeral arrangements for David Mohler have not yet been announced.