Gale Donald Mohlenbrink
Gale was born Feb. 23, 1924, in Lovell, Wyo., to William G. and Roxanna (Anna) Howard Mohlenbrink. His early years were spent in Oklahoma and in Nampa and Homedale, Idaho, until he was 11, at which time his parents settled in Buhl, where he attended school.
Gale joined the Navy in February of 1941 and was a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He was in many battles of the Pacific in 1941 to 1942. The heavy cruiser he was attached to escorted the carrier, USS Hornet, that took the Doolittle Raiders to Bomb Japan in April of 1942. His heavy cruiser, USS Hampton, was sunk in Iron Bottom Sound on Dec. 1, 1942, where he survived the shark-infested waters of the Pacific until he was picked up by an American destroyer. He was later transferred to a destroyer, the USS Edison, fighting the remaining three years in combat duty in the German, Italian and African front. When Germany surrendered, he returned to Pearl Harbor on the USS Edison, preparing for the invasion of Japan, when Japan surrendered.
In February of 1946, he married Julie Djakovich in New York City and, through the years, they had three children. After leaving the Navy in 1947, he returned to Buhl with his family, where he worked at whatever ditch digging or bartending jobs he could find. He ran the small restaurant at the Twin Falls airport for a year and ran the Oregon Trail service station and cabins in Buhl for more than a year. He then went to work for the Home Lumber and Coal Company in Buhl, which was the beginning of his lifetime occupation. His lumber building career took him to Weiser and then Council and, for a while, he worked in a lumber mill at Tamarack before returning to retail sales.
After his divorce in 1965, he returned to Buhl and went to work for Citizens Lumber Company, where he remained until his retirement in late 1985. He married Onah Dee Mackie Platt in 1967 and raised her two children as his own. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, camping and traveling, which he and his wife did as much as they could over the years. His family was always first in his life, but the Hawaiian Islands were a truly special place to Gale, as so many important things in his life were attached to the islands. He travelled there as often as he could with his brother-in-law and sister-in-law. After returning from their Hawaiian vacation in October 2009 with his brother and sister-in -law, he and his wife wrote a book on his experiences from Dec. 7, 1941, through his six years in the Navy and the return to his home in Idaho in March of 1947. In April 2011, he returned to Hawaii with his wife and two stepdaughters. It was to be his final vacation to what he always called “Paradise,” and he was always glad he was able to go there with some of his children, although he missed not sharing with all of them.
He is survived by his wife of almost 46 years; two sons, Michael G. (Rene) Mohlenbrink of Lawrenceville, Ga., and George D. Mohlenbrink (Karen Markley) of Ruby, Ark.; three daughters, Cynthia A. (Steve) Manascalco of Colorado Springs, Colo., Shiela J. (Guy) Lemmons of Buhl, Idaho, and Corinne A. (James) Mason of Twin Falls, Idaho; brother and sister-in-law, Dr. Wm. Marvin and Phyllis V. Mackie of San Pedro, Calif.; and sister-in-law, Mary L. Mohlenbrink of Rupert, Idaho. He is also survived by nine grandchildren, Leighla Young, Michael G. Mohlenbrink II, Travis Mohlenbrink, Mindy Mohlenbrink, Stephanie A. (Danny Dias) Lemmons, Shayla D. (Rodney) Tolman, Jacob T. Lemmons, Jeni (Zach) Martin and Madi Mason; and nine great-grandchildren, Devin, Dylan and David Dias, Kelsey and Kalab Lemmons, and Bryce Mohlenbrink, Abrahm and Eliza Mae Martin; three nephews and six nieces. He was preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Louis E. Mohlenbrink; half brother, Emmett Davis; son-in-law, R. Kurt Lemmons; and a nephew, Gary Davis.
A memorial service for Gale will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, July 12, at Farmer Funeral Chapel in Buhl. In lieu of flowers memorials may be made to Buhl EMT, 203B Broadway N., Buhl, ID 83316 or Hospice Visions, 1770 Parkview Drive, Twin Falls, ID 83301. Full military honors will be conducted at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, at a later date. Memorial arrangements are under the direction of Farmer Funeral Chapel of Buhl Idaho.