John Mario Mora passed away on November 25, 2018 at Peace Hospice in Great Falls after battling failing health for several years.
John was born on March 16, 1926 in Romagnano Sesia, Italy to Caesar and Marietta Mora. In 1930, after an extended stay in Italy, the family returned to the United States and settled in Great Falls.
John attended local schools and graduated from Great Falls High School on D Day, June 6, 1944. He and sixteen other young men from Great Falls entered boot camp in Farragut, Idaho.
Upon completion of boot camp, John was assigned to the Armed Guard Unit of the United States Navy, attended gunnery school in San Diego, California and was assigned to the Liberty Ship, USS Joseph McDonough.
In November 1944, the ship departed New Orleans bound for the South Pacific and the Philippine Islands. He was reassigned to the SS Dolly Madison where his deployment took him to New Guinea in the South Pacific.
After the Japanese conflict ended, the ship was used to haul troops and cargo to various islands in the Pacific. He returned to the Brooklyn Naval shipyard in February 1946. John jokingly said that he had a free trip around the world, courtesy of the United States Navy.
In the fall of 1946, John began his college career. He became a member of the football team for Montana State College (now Montana State University) as a “walk on.”
That same year the Bobcat team played the University of New Mexico in the Harbor Bowl in San Diego. The game ended in a 13-13 tie. The following season the Bobcats played a hard fought game with the University of Oregon (coached by Norm Van Brockland) losing 27-14.
Later that season the Bobcats played the University of Montana Grizzlies in Butte winning the game 13-12. In the win-loss series between the Bobcats and Grizzlies, that game ranked number eight as the best game played in a total of 100 games.
In 1993, John and the entire 1946 Bobcat team was inducted into the Montana State University Hall of Fame. In 1950 John received his degree in Physical Education from Montana State College.
In January 1950 John married Joan Annette Davis. They had three daughters: Janice (John) Gomoke, Jerri Soula, and JoAnne (Chris) Anderson. John married Betty Jaraczeski Bandy in 1978.
John’s love for football never ended, and he began to referee high school football games throughout the state. John was a member of the Montana Officials Association for twenty-six years, and in 1986 was inducted into the MOA Hall of Fame.
In 1956, John began working for the National Farmers Union Insurance Company as an adjuster, and after four years was a branch Claims Manager. He retired in 1987 after completing thirty-seven years of service with Farmers Union.
To read the complete obituary and share condolences, visit the Schnider Funeral Home website.