‹ Return to Current Obituaries
Send FlowersHand delivered by a local florist
Send a Sympathy Card
Plant Memorial Trees


Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Cottonwood
Thursday October 6th, 2022
4:00pm - 7:00pm

View Details


Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Cottonwood
Friday October 7th, 2022
2:00pm - 3:00pm

View Details

Funeral Service

Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Cottonwood
Friday October 7th, 2022

View Details

Order Flowers now for guaranteed delivery before Howard's visitation.

Howard Henry Mohr

The funeral service for Howard Mohr, 83, of Cottonwood, will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 7, 2022, at Christ Lutheran Church in Cottonwood.  Visitation will be Thursday, October 6, from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. with a prayer service at 6:30 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church.  Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service on Friday, October 7 from 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.  at the church.  A recording of the service will be available at the Christ Lutheran Church YouTube page and www.horvathfuneralservice.com.

Howard Henry Mohr was born on March 20, 1939, and passed on Sunday, September 4, 2022. The cause of his death was Parkinson’s. Howard was able to live at home with his wife of 59 years, Jody, until August 23rd when due to difficulties walking, he moved into Fieldcrest Assisted Living in Cottonwood, MN.

Howard and Jody moved to a farmplace south of Cottonwood, MN, in 1970 when Howard began a teaching job as Professor of English at Southwest State University. They adopted their baby daughter and named her Susan Rose in the spring of 1971. 

His love of writing, humor and satire inspired his most memorable book “How to Talk Minnesotan” which was a regional best seller and later made into the musical “How to Talk Minnesotan: The Musical.” When approached about making a musical of his book, Howard was skeptical because, as he said, there was no plot. Nevertheless, with the collaboration of producers and actors from Troupe America and the inspired musical compositions of Drew Jansen, it became a long running hit at the Plymouth Playhouse. The production was taken on the road many times and played in many venues across the state. Howard was also author of another book of humor “Minnesota Book of Days” and the updated version of “How to Talk Minnesotan Revised,” all published by Penguin Books. Howard is also author of a book of poetry and prose entitled “How to Tell a Tornado.”  

Howard was a regular speaker at events across the country sharing his unique sense of humor. He had a knack for identifying the hidden meaning in language and exposing its contradictions. 

Howard lived most of his life in Minnesota but was born in Des Moines, Iowa. Parents Rosie and Ralph took the family to live in San Jose, California, for a few years in the 1940s but returned to Iowa to live near the town of Ferguson, where they lived on a farm next to Ralph’s brother, John Mohr. Howard had many aunts, uncles and cousins in Iowa on both the Mohr side and Fredregill side of the family, too numerous to mention. 

Howard is survived by his wife, Jody, and daughter Susan Rose and husband Jackson. Other family members surviving are his sister Rose, brothers Jack and Paul and sister Donna and husband Steve Kinney. 

Preceding him in death were his father, Ralph William Mohr (1956), mother Rosie May Fredregill Mohr (2010), infant brother Vernon (1937), and sister-in-law Patricia Ann Mohr.

In the early 1970s, Howard and Jody took care of their nephew Tommy Vick, son of Jody's sister Jeri Reed. Tommy passed in 1977. 

Loved by many, Howard will be missed, but he leaves behind a huge collection of his writings and performances to enjoy. 

Memorials may be given to Southwest Minnesota State University and Marshall-Lyon County Library.


To plant memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Howard Mohr, please visit our flower store.


A candle was lit in memory of Howard Mohr

Clint Anthony Oct 7 2022 1:50 PM

The Ralph Mohr Family has always been special to the John Mohr Family (from around Ferguson, Iowa). We always loved it when Howard and Jody came back to visit.

From cousin David Mohr: One of the funny things from Howard's past was one day my dad and I were putting hay in the barn that sat across from the country house where Howard and his family lived. All of a sudden the town cop, Bob Prescott from Ferguson, pulled in the driveway. I can't recall if he had his flashing lights on but he was in pursuit of the notorious criminal law breaker of Ferguson, Howard Mohr. I believe later Howard said his crime was rolling through a stop sign. Obviously Howard learned the lesson that no one got away with reckless vehicle disregard for safety and the laws of Ferguson.
I also remember Howard expressing his gratitude for what his Uncle John (my dad) did for his mom and dad when they moved back from California to Iowa. He always talked about how Johnny Mohr put in the crops that spring for his mom and dad and probably didn't take any pay for doing it.

From Linda Mohr: After my dad, John Mohr, went to war (WW2) , it was years before he started sharing stories about his experiences. But then, he figured since Howard could write a book, so could he. So on a November morning we took off for Cottonwood, MN, to get Howard's blessing to write the book about dad's 101st Airborne experiences. We got the grand tour of Cottonwood. The highlight was a two mile run Howard and John did together.
Dad was honored to have Howard write the forward in his book; it was a story in and of itself.

From Karen Mohr Eggert: There was quite an age gap between us. Howard was one of the oldest Mohr cousins and I was one of the youngest. I always enjoyed Howard and Jody's visits to the farm where we lived near Ferguson. As a young girl, I admired him. I remember standing outside waving as they would fly over the farm for us in their airplane before landing up near Marshalltown.
Howard and Jody were devoted to their families back in Iowa, and we are so fortunate they took the time to visit and attend reunions.
In recent years, Howard and Jody also became my good friends. I am grateful for the love they have always shown for each other .
One last time I will say to you, "With Love from Iowa, your first cousin, Karen."

David, Linda, & Karen Mohr Oct 4 2022 3:30 PM

A candle was lit in memory of Howard Mohr

Deborah Rioux Sep 28 2022 2:09 PM

Howard Henry Mohr was my mentor.
I was closest to him in age. I was 14 when our father died and he was 17. He was the first in our family and family of numerous relatives to become educated beyond high school and won many accolades in mathematics and science. A great teacher.
Our careers separated us geographically for 60 years. Mine in medicine/surgery and his in creative writing. I visited at least twice yearly.
He and Jody were always there to help when needed for each of the five siblings and our mother. Amazingly, Jody and I were best friends at Ferguson High School in Ferguson Iowa before she began to date Howard. Our friendship continues.
It is great that his legacy will live on in all the lives he has touched.
Rose Marie Mohr

Rose Marie Mohr Sep 23 2022 3:05 PM

My name is Donna and I am Howard’s youngest sibling. We were 14 years apart in age but we had a very close relationship my whole life. Howard was more than a brother to me. He also stood in for our father, Ralph, in many ways, who died of cancer when I was 3 years old.

I have many great memories of Howard. Learning to harmonize with him when I was 5 while he played guitar on the back steps of our farmhouse in rural Marshalltown, Iowa (the song was “Down in the Valley”), listening to recordings of Buddy Holly, Kingston Trio, Mort Saul, Elvis Presley, and Peter Paul & Mary with our sister Rose. The teddy bear he gave me that was as big as me on my 7th birthday with money he earned at the bakery in town. Teaching me to play Chess along with our sister Rose when I was 5. Being flower girl at his marriage to Jody when I was 10 years old and wistfully watching him and Jody drive off in their VW to start their life together. His many visits home where, until I was too big, he would lift me off the floor and touch my head to the ceiling as soon as he walked in the door. Then he proceeded to put his glasses askew and make a goofy face to make me laugh. The many visits by train or bus to visit him and Jody after they were married and his tolerance of playing word games with me every time I visited. Teaching the family to make tacos after his time in Texas at Abilene Christian College.

Howard knew how much I loved music and wanted to play the piano, but that would have been out of reach for our mother, Rosie, who was raising 5 children on her own. So he made a deal with her when I was in 6th grade that he would chip in one-half the cost of purchasing a used Haddorff upright piano if she could pay the other half and pay for me to take lessons. Somehow, with his contribution, she made it work. I was beside myself. I can still feel the overwhelming joy.

He would read poetry to me when he came home from college or his teaching jobs and talked about the books he was teaching or reading. He was inspiring. A teacher, and a mentor. We shared a love of many authors but I remember Kurt Vonnegut Jr. was a particular favorite of ours. He appreciated Vonnegut’s worldview and dark humor. We laughed a lot about his writings. We also shared a love of the New Yorker Magazine and Far Side cartoons.

We exchanged letters frequently throughout our lives until the advent of email. I have saved every one of them. We enjoyed making each other laugh and Howard would often say at the beginning of a sentence: “You might want to get your oxygen ready.” And then he would proceed to tell a story that would make you laugh so hard you couldn’t breathe. This is probably what I will miss most about Howard. No one could make me laugh the way he could.

In 1979, we both set off on our first trip out of the country - Howard to travel to Iceland to visit his friend Bill Holm and I to embark on a 3 month trip all over Europe. We agreed to meet while on our adventures in London at Victoria Station at a set time, no particular place, just Victoria Station. We had no idea what a mass of people and chaos it was. We couldn’t find each other. We wandered all over and out of desperation I arranged to have a message read to him over the loudspeakers in the station in hopes that he would hear it. No luck. Finally, having given up, I turned around to leave the station and ran into Howard. Literally. Hard. There may have been a minor injury involved. After a moment of confusion followed by disbelief then realization - you guessed it, we needed oxygen. We laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe. We hung out in London together a couple days then traveled to Paris via the Dover ferry where after a brief stay we both went our separate ways.

Howard was way more than the talented writer and funny guy everyone knew - he was a great brother to all his siblings, great son to our mother, especially in her final years, great husband and father. Tender hearted and talented in so many ways. A pilot, a runner, a farmer, a mechanic, a carpenter. A great friend to many. I am so grateful for him and for my whole amazing family. I really lucked out. I know that if Howard were to read this he would make a face and say “Geez, let’s not get carried away.” I know I can say on behalf of myself and siblings, sister Rose, and brothers Jack and Paul, he was one of a kind and we are so fortunate to have been a part of his life. And he will always be a part of ours.

Donna Mohr Kinney Sep 23 2022 2:48 PM

I remember having a conversation in the early 80s, in the local Cottonwood grocery store, with Howard and a local resident. The resident commented that the only thing he read in the newspaper was The Far Side, a single frame comic. Howard dryly quipped, “How long does it take you?”

Dale Melom Sep 10 2022 11:40 AM

From 1971 to 1975, Howard and I were colleagues and friends at Southwest Minnesota State College in the English Department. We hung out together, read and responded to each other’s poetry, played racquetball, chess, and cards. My wife Arlie and I enjoyed meals and cook-outs with Howard and Jody at each other’s homes. One time, during the great blizzard of 1974, we hunkered down in our apartment in Marshall and played Hearts long into the night, hoping against hope that the heating fuel wouldn’t run out (I didn’t, but just barely).
Howard was a wonderful friend—generous and warm and accepting. Though I only saw him a few times after we left Minnesota, we kept up contact through letters and pictures. To know he’s no longer around is a deep sadness.
I still have and treasure his inscribed poetry collection How to Tell a Tornado. In case you’ve never read it, here’s the inspired title poem:


Listen for noises.
If you do not live
near railroad tracks,
the freight train you hear
is not the Northern Pacific
lost in the storm:
that is a tornado
doing imitations of itself.
One of its favorite sounds
is no sound.
After the high wind, and
before the freight train,
there is a pocket
of nothing:
this is when you think
everything has stopped:
but do not be fooled.
Leave it all behind
except for a candle
and take to the cellar.

if straws are imbedded
in trees without leaves,
and your house—except
for the unbroken bathroom mirror—
has vanished
without a trace,
and you are naked
except for the right leg
of your pants,
you can safely assume
that a tornado
has gone through your life
without touching it.

Al Zolynas Sep 9 2022 4:50 PM

My son, Dan, explained that it was an Elvis Costello quote on Howard\'s shirt at this 1981 or so Fredregill Reunion.

Patricia R. Coffie Sep 9 2022 3:10 PM

P.S. The weed was volunteer plants, not for personal use. Apologies!

Lois Wollin Sep 8 2022 9:16 AM

Where to begin? I was probably eleven or twelve when some of my sisters and I stayed with Uncle Howard and Aunt Jody for a few days--1967 maybe?.Their apartment was full of books and suggestions to read them (that's where I read "The Catcher in the Rye"). There was that time a good meal continued long at the table with good conversation and Howard commented on how many toothpicks we had shredded while we talked.
When the Mohrs visited us in Germany in 1985, Howard told us about how he had been learning German with some U.S. gov't language system and how he had an idea about teaching people to speak Minnesotan that way. Months later, when he mailed us a set of Prairie Home Companion cassettes, he added a postcard about a possible book deal that probably wouldn't work out (or something like that...I kept it for years!). Well, it did, and the rest is Minnesota history!
The next time Howard and Jody visited us, this time in a different town, they stayed in a hotel that was between two sex shops. So when we made it over to Cottonwood, Howard hug a sign on the side of his barn, "Sex Shop" and made sure we all got to see it so we'd feel at home. Then he went out and took it down, because of his farmer friend on the adjacent property:"Kenny wouldn't understand."
We have photos of our kids with Howard by the weed (yes, that kind) that grew behind a shed and of the out watching tornado clouds ("how to tell a tornado" in action).
Our family watched both the original version of the musical at the Plymouth Playhouse and the Christmas version in Fargo--("Where did my car go?). Howard's humor did us proud! And many of the language lessons and the ads became part of our family lore: "Whatever." "A lotta guys..." "Not too bad"...Slo-Decay Snack Cakes...Cowpie Key Hiders...and the unmarked van from the hardware store.
Back in 1985, Howard commented on the red poppies blooming in the grain fields and along the roads here in Germany, how that would have to be part of a story set here in May. So that's why when I see them--and I love poppies--I always get to be reminded of dear Uncle Howard. So it goes.

Lois Wollin Sep 8 2022 9:04 AM

Show More Entries