Musical 'Santa' shares Christmas spirit
SUSAN BRYANT/PRESS PHOTOS Dr. Raymond A. Fritz, of Allentown Family Foot Care, with David thor Staten-Mohr of Lehighton at Fritz's South Whitehall foot care practice.
Wearing a red-and-white Santa hat, a red shirt and sporting a white beard, David thor Staten-Mohr entertained patients and staff recently at Allentown Family Foot Care, South Whitehall Township.
Thor Staten-Mohr, who has lived in Lehighton since 1976, said he was invited to play his accordion at the podiatry office by Dr. Raymond A. Fritz.
"My wife Patricia met Dr. Fritz (as a patient) and through their talking, I got hooked in," he said.
"We get invited to Dr. Fritz's staff Christmas party every year. I play music prior to the disc jockey starting."
A native of Allentown, thor Staten-Mohr has been playing the accordion since 1952.
"My father (the Rev. Luther K. Mohr) played classical piano," he said. "Leaning on his piano one day, he asked 'Son what instrument do you want to play?' Without missing a beat I said the accordion.
"Being around the coal mines and exposed to accordions is why I chose the accordion.
Thor Staten-Mohr began taking accordion lessons at age 7.
Over the years, he took lessons from both Rose Bodner of Hazleton and Jasper Collura of Tamaqua.
When he was 17, he joined the U.S. Navy.
He was a musician petty officer 2nd class from 1962-65.
After graduating from the U.S. Navy School of Music, Washington, D.C., in 1963, he performed with Navy unit bands from Norfolk, Va.
"We performed on two cruises to the Mediterranean," thor Staten-Mohr said. "We played at the U.S.O. and entertained local people."
During a cruise in 1964, he bought the accordion he now plays in Naples, Italy, for $205.
"I got out (of the Navy) before I was 21 and right before the semester started at Muhlenberg College," thor Staten-Mohr said.
He graduated from Muhlenberg College in 1969 with a degree in psychology.
After graduation, he became a parole supervisor with the state Board of Probation and Parole until he retired April 1, 2011.
In 1974, he earned a master's degree in social work from Marywood College, Scranton.
From 1974-90, he lectured at night at Penn State University, and Moravian and Muhlenberg colleges.
In addition to playing music, he enjoys landscaping, gardening and chopping wood in his spare time.
The accordion-playing Santa's wife, Patricia, is director of music for First Presbyterian Church, Stroudsburg.