Robert Neil Mockler
August 21, 1927 – March 18, 2021
Preceded in death by parents, Anastasia and Richard Mockler; sister, Donna Garin. Survived by wife of 62 years, Mary Pat Mockler; children: Richard Mockler (Chris), Thomas Mockler (Susan), Tish Fobben (James), Karen Mockler (Mike Stark), and James Mockler (Stephanie); grandchildren: Brenna, Neil, Alana, Anastasia, Michael, Bridget, Marie, and Jonathan; numerous nieces and nephews.
Bob worked at WOW-TV (later WOWT) for decades as a cameraman, eventually becoming the director of news photography.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday, June 9th from 5pm to 7pm at the West Center Chapel in Omaha, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm. MEMORIAL MASS: Thursday, June 10th at 10:30am at St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church, 6116 Dodge St., Omaha. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Omaha or to the Rocky Mountain Conservancy.
To view live broadcasts of the Vigil Service and Mass, please go to www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button on the home page.
Robert Neil Mockler, a longtime resident of Omaha and former TV cameraman for WOWT, died March 18, 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. He was 93.
Bob was born on August 21, 1927, in Omaha. He grew up in Norfolk, Nebraska and Boone, Iowa and graduated from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, where he majored in history. His great love, however, was photography. After college, Bob served as a photographer for the U.S. Army in Japan at the conclusion of World War II. Not long after, he was hired by WOWT (then WOW-TV and still in its infancy), the first television station in Nebraska.
Bob was a TV cameraman at WOWT for more than forty years (1950–1992), eventually becoming the station’s director of news photography. He covered a range of stories including the great flood of 1952, the aftermath of the JFK assassination and the Omaha tornado of 1975. He also did weekly features with the station’s Arnold Peterson, “Farm Family of the Week” and “Arnold’s Garden,” which often featured Bob’s homegrown tomatoes, apples, and other gardening projects.
In 1959, Bob married Mary Pat Keenan, and they had five children: Rick, Tom, Tish, Karen, and Jim; and eight grandchildren: Brenna, Neil, Alana, Anastasia, Michael, Bridget, Marie, and Jonathan. The family was part of St. Margaret Mary Parish for many years.
Bob loved outdoor sports. As a young man, he skied in the Rocky Mountains and sailed in regattas at Lake Manawa on his boat, “The Mad Luffer.” In the 1970s he started riding a bike to work most months of the year, scaling the many hills between WOWT on 35th and his home on 75th Street. He played tennis every week into his ‘80s and hiked into his ‘90s, but when the family visited the Rocky Mountains each summer, he stopped those hikes (repeatedly!) to shoot photos.
In retirement, he volunteered with St. Vincent de Paul and traveled with Mary Pat to Ireland (where Bob’s dad was born), Spain, Portugal, Costa Rica, India, Alaska, and Hawaii, and visited their children’s families across the United States. In 2005, Bob and Mary Pat sold their home and moved to The Arboretum, where they lived for the next 13 years. In 2018, they moved to Colorado’s Front Range.
Bob died peacefully of pneumonia, exacerbated by complications from Parkinson’s disease.