John Mohr was the originator of the Mohr Funeral Home which was established in 1886. John was born in 1855. He came to Ponca in 1881 from Manchester, Iowa. He was a builder by trade, building many bridges in the area and constructed the Terra Hill Catholic Church in Daily Township. He began a furniture store in 1884 and the Mohr Funeral Home in 1886. He attended Clarke’s School of Embalming in Dubuque, Iowa. He passed away on January, 04, 1933. John’s son, Don O. Mohr Sr., joined his father in the business after attending Barnes School of Embalming in Chicago, Illinois in 1913. He took over the business after his Father’s death. Don O. Mohr Jr. joined his father after attending California College of Mortuary Science in Los Angeles, California. After graduation, he worked with his father until 1953 when he moved to California. He returned in 1962 to take over the business when his father was killed in an auto accident. Don O. Mohr III graduated from Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Oregon, with a degree in Mortuary Science in 1986. He worked with his father until 1993, when his father retired and he is the present owner with his wife Diane.
The original funeral home was located in the back of the furniture store, where the caskets and funeral merchandise were stored. In 1934, the funeral home was moved to another building on Ponca’s main street and was the first complete funeral home. In 1939, the funeral home was moved to a residential area and is now located there. In 1955, a new chapel was added, which seats 200. Since 1955, a number of interior and exterior changes have been made to the building and in 2001, a complete remodel was done to the building with a new front added to the building.
Until about 1930, bodies were embalmed at the home, dressed and placed in the casket and the services were held in the home or church. Neighbors and friends spent the nights sitting with the body. After 1930, the funeral home was used.
In 1887, the first horse drawn hearse was used. In 1905, the first new style funeral car was put into service. In 1937, a side serving funeral car and ambulance service was provided until June of 1970, when the Ponca Rescue Unit was formed. During the years, Mohr Funeral Home had other funeral homes in Maskell, Allen, and Coleridge, Nebraska. At present Mohr Funeral Home is in Ponca and South Sioux City, Nebraska. The Mohr Funeral Home has had four generations serve Ponca and the surrounding area. It is the second oldest funeral home in the State of Nebraska under the same family ownership, the first, located in Omaha, Nebraska was established in 1885.