Robert Neil Mockler

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.

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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.

 

15 Comments

  • Ann Pedersen Posted March 28, 2021 8:01 am

    There isn’t a time when I think about WOWT that it doesn’t include memories of Bob. Such a professional, kind person.
    So many stories we worked on together but the one I always chuckle a bout is the time Bob and I were doing our monthly grocery shopping pricing story at Hinky Dinky and Mary Pat and Jimmy were at the store. Jimmy couldn’t figure out why his dad was there shopping with some other woman, but he was having none of it!
    It was an honor to work with Bob, to know Bob and to call Bob a friend. My deepest sympathies to you, Mary Pat and the entire Mockler family.

  • Kathy O’Hara & Craig Brehm Posted March 28, 2021 11:12 am

    Bob was a great mentor – direct but always respectful. A positive influence on those who worked beside him. And such a nice person -interested in others’ lives. Blessings to Mary Pat and the family.

  • Diane Weber Posted March 28, 2021 1:51 pm

    My deepest sympathy, Mary Pat, to you and your family at this difficult time. Over the many years we worked together, Mary Pat, I always enjoyed your stories about your and Bob’s family get-togethers, trips, and life together. You and Bob had a wonderful, loving relationship, and that showed through in how you raised your family. You are a wonderful, loving family, and that speaks volumes to the legacy of your and Bob’s love for each other. I am so sorry for your loss, and my thoughts and prayers are with you all during this difficult time.
    Diane Weber

  • Ray Meints Posted March 28, 2021 6:25 pm

    Bob was one of my mentors. He made a great impact in my life. Bob always gave “Good But…”. When he critiqued my work, Bob always said – “This is good…but…”. He took a positive approach in developing young photographers. My life is better because of Bob Mocklet♥️😢🎥

  • Allison Crunick Posted March 28, 2021 6:27 pm

    It’s impossible to think of WOWT without thinking of Bob. Being a part of his staff was a great blessing for me; both professionally and personally. He gave me – a “girl photographer” fresh out of college – a chance when other stations declined to do so. He never hesitated to share his knowledge or answer questions for those of us with less time behind the lens. Today, with the camera long on the shelf, his sense of humor remains a light that still shines in my life. My thoughts are with Mary Pat and the entire family.

  • Mike & Jacquie Plews Posted March 28, 2021 7:07 pm

    Bob was a wondetful boss, friend and teacher. He enriched the lives of all he met. A gentleman and an old school broadcaster in the best sense .

  • Dennis “Putz” Stearns Posted March 29, 2021 10:18 am

    “Moke” was a profound and positive influence on many, many lives and it’s a true privilege to feel included in that number. His leadership as director of photography at WOWT was calm, mature, respectful and even his criticism was always uplifting. Bob had a gift for leading by example and his advice and opinions served me well throughout the entire course of my career in photojournalism. He was the best person I’ve ever worked for and as his tenure at WOWT was winding down our relationship became more personal and that was a gift I will forever treasure. I hope that Mary Pat and the Mockler family find comfort in the respect that so many have had and continue to have for Bob “Moke” Mockler.

  • Bruce & Joan Prenosil Posted March 29, 2021 12:38 pm

    Bob and I always worked together on Saturdays. Perhaps more than anything else, I remember his laugh.If you weren’t in a good mood, it was always Bob’s laugh that changed the day. I’ve often wondered about him, what he was doing and where he was living. Being a photographer, it made perfect sense that he moved back to Colorado where there are so many photos to be taken. So many good memories to hold onto, but nothing can replace Bob. Our sincere condolences to Mary Pat, his children and grandchildren. God bless!

  • David and Pat Studts Posted March 30, 2021 1:32 pm

    Our sincere sympathy to you, Mary Pat, and your family. It was so good to see you at the Nebraska Med “lunch bunch” gatherings where you shared your and Bob’s latest travels with us. Those were quite a while ago already. We hope that all the good memories help sustain you in your grief. Please know that we are thinking of you and your family.

  • Mary C. Haven Posted March 31, 2021 6:09 pm

    Mary Pat, I am thinking of you and your family. I am so sorry to hear of Robert’s death. I remember the love that always shined through all the stories you told of your life together. My prayers are with you and your family.

  • Pat Fellows Posted April 1, 2021 7:51 am

    Mary Pat, I am so sorry to hear of Bob’s passing. Please know my thoughts are with you and your family. You had such a wonderful life together. May those memories give you peace and comfort during this difficult time.

  • Sarah Ryan Posted April 10, 2021 8:03 pm

    My condolences to you all. I was so sorry to hear this news. I remember the tomatoes in the back yard and the darkroom down the back stairs. Bob Mockler was a quiet force of life, the best kind. Peace to your family.

  • Jennifer Cyr Posted April 13, 2021 10:05 am

    Mary Pat, I was so sorry to read of your beloved husband’s passing. It is so hard to lose your best friend in life. My heart aches for you. May you be comforted by all of the wonderful memories the two of you shared. My prayers are with you.

  • Dave Hamer Posted June 9, 2021 11:38 am

    My sincerest condolences to Mary Pat, the children and grandchildren. I knew and respected Bob from the early days of Omaha television. Though we were at opposing stations we were friendly competitors and eventually teamed up when I moved to WOWT in 1981. I’ll remember Bob for his smile and easy going manner as well as his thorough professionalism.

  • Gary Almquist Posted June 17, 2021 12:50 pm

    Very sorry to hear of the loss of this great man. Respected, emulated, and appreciated him so much. As a mentor, his critiques helped me to grow professionally as well as personally. I’ve immensely missed working under him since 1992.

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