Harold Theodore Mahler, age 92, passed away on August 5, 2016 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Harold was born in Ashland, Ohio to Theodore and Bertha (Smith) Mahler. Known to his friends as Hal, he graduated from Fredericksburg High School in 1941. With war clouds looming on the horizon, and though qualified for a “sole survivor exemption,’’ Hal joined the Army Air Corps in 1941. He qualified as a radio operator and waist gunner in B-25 Mitchell bombers; these bombers became famous as the bombers used by the Doolittle Raid on April 18, 1942 on Tokyo. Hal’s bomber group flew their missions out of Tunisia, Africa to occupied France, Mussolini’s Italy, and Nazi Germany. Technical Corporal Hal Mahler completed 25 combat missions which qualified him to rotate home. However, Hal stayed with his buddies and continued to fly combat missions. On Hal’s 36th combat mission, his bomber was shot down with Hal and the other waist gunner being the only two survivors. Technical Sargent Hal Mahler was a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft #3 for ten months and was liberated by Third Army Division commanded by General George Patton. Upon his discharge for AAF, Sgt. Mahler was award the Distinguished Air Medal for his numerous combat missions and for helping other prisoners of war escape.
Hal returned to Wooster, Ohio, where he found a job working for Buckeye Aluminum. On May 20, 1946, he married Marjorie (Midge) Sue Blough. Hal worked as a ticket agent for Piedmont Airlines after schooling in Kansas City. He and Midge later moved to Norfolk, Virginia. He became a loan officer for Southern Bank of Norfolk. Hal ended his working career and retired from Smith and King Electric working as a comptroller and accountant in their business office.
In 1955, Hal and Midge Mahler transferred their membership from First Lutheran Church in Norfolk, Virginia to Our Saviour Lutheran Church in Virginia Beach, becoming charter members. Hal served on the church council numerous years and was part of the property committee that built both the old sanctuary, known today as Carbaugh Hall, and the current sanctuary and facility. One of Hal’s proudest moments at the church was when he helped burn the mortgage after the final payment was made. Hal and Midge were very active in their church until personal illnesses curtailed their activities. Midge passed away in 2002 after her brave battle with cancer.
Hal is survived and missed by his sister-in-law Eleanor Harvey of Worcester, Ohio, his church family, and his neighbors known as “Hal’s Helpers”.
Funeral services will be held at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, 4200 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach, Virginia on Thursday, September 1, 2016 at 1:00 pm.
Date: Thursday, September 1, 2016
Time: 1:00 pm
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