Posted by East Kern Genealogical Society
Courtesy of Mojave Desert News, California City, Kern, CA
"Walking" George Takes His Last Walk
Local legend dead at 80
by M & E Koppel, Staff Writers
BORON â€” It was a sad day for Boron. Eighty-year-old "Walking" George Swain was found dead on the porch of the home where he had been house-sitting for friends. A neighbor found Swain late Tuesday afternoon. Locally, George earned his name as "Walking George" because he never owned a car, or home, and walked to and from work â€” from his home, which was always rumored to be just a hole in the desert. He supposedly kept himself warm at night with a covering of newspapers. His wardrobe was always the same, wrinkled shirt and pants, well-worn boots.
George was always a one man entry in the Twenty Mule Team parade, waving and greeting friends as he followed the parade route. He attended local events and often would play the piano for entertainment. He taught piano to children in Boron and played at the Baptist Church.
A very warm and friendly gentleman, George was, at the drop of a hat, willing to share stories about his adventures and of his lady friends in the city, whom he would walk to see.
Stories and rumors surrounding this colorful and eccentric local celebrity have been a favorite subject of Boron residents for many years.
George was born October 22, 1919 in Los Angeles and later went to school in San Jose. He served in the Army with the 87th Infantry during World War II. After discharge he took a three month course in chemical analysis at Stanford University which landed him a job with U. S. Borax in Boron.
He liked to say that he arrived in Boron by train at 4 a.m. on the fourth day of the fourth month in 1944. It was at this job with Borax that George spent his entire working career. George was a bachelor all his life.
However, his penchant for walking made him a legend. On his 59th birthday in 1978 an article about George came out in the Los Angeles Times. By May 1979 he was featured on the TV show "Real People" and returned in the following November for a reunion.
George retired from U.S. Borax in January 1987 as #3 Mule (meaning third in seniority) a position he held for the three years prior to his retirement.
Of his life George said, "My life is going to be full. I regret I'm only one person. So many things are going on at the same time I wish I could go to them all."
World famous "Walking" George Swain was one of those larger than life people; a legend in his own time.