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ArtistikFunk

King of Hobos' Dies at Age 89

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NAPOLEON, Ohio -- Maurice Graham, who began hitching rides on trains as a teenager and was known as the "King of the Hobos," has died at the age of 89.

 

Graham, who recently suffered a stroke, died Saturday at the Northcrest Nursing Home, his family said.

 

Graham, nicknamed "Steam Train Maury," was a founding member of the National Hobo Foundation and helped establish the Hobo Museum in Britt, Iowa.

 

He was "a true hobo hero," said foundation president Linda Hughes.

 

"He was a classy and respected man," she said. "No one can live up to Steam Train. He's irreplaceable."

 

Graham in 1990 wrote "Tales of the Iron Road: My Life As King of the Hobos," telling his stories of hopping trains beginning at the age of 14 and living in hobo camps until 1980. He was named National Hobo King five times at the annual hobo convention in Britt, and was crowned Grand Patriarch of Hoboes in 2004.

 

Graham worked as a mason and founded a school where he taught the trade. He was a medical technician during World War II.

 

He is survived by his wife, Wanda, and two daughters.

 

 

RIP MY brother... may your ride on the westbound be smooth & heavenly!

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steamtrain.jpg

 

 

 

"When a hobo catches the Westbound, he's not done at the end of the funeral service.

His spirit goes off into the sunset, and you try to continue with his beliefs and philosphies."

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In Remembrance of Steam Train Maury

A Celebration of His Life

Have you ever heard the phrase a person who wears many hats? Steam Train Maury Graham was a man who wore many hats in his life time. The phrase of wearing hats means he did several things. The reason I am mentioning this phrase is because seeing the hats on the casket made me think of the phrase.

The lid of the casket had a Santa hat draped across the left hand corner because he loved playing Santa for thirty years. Leaning on the casket was his walking stick with his hobo hat hooked on it. Above his left hand was draped a Hobo neckerchief. He was a five times Hobo King and the Patriarch of the Hobos. He loved to ride the rails and he loved to tell stories of his experiences of riding the rails. An American Flag draped the bottom half of his casket and later covered his casket at the final service. Congress Lady Marcy Kaptur presented Wanda, his wife, at visitation a folded flag that was flown over the United States Capitol on November 20, 2006 the day “Steam Train Maury” Graham caught the Westbound. It was a presentation to the family of Maurice W. “Steamtrain Maury” Graham 1917 – 2006, King of the Hoboes and the real Santa Claus. The words on the certificate explained “other hats he wore” during his life time. Explorer, working man for community and country, patriot, World War II Army veteran, medic and healer, naturalist, woodsman, whose family extended beyond his own to embrace and our nation follower of roads not taken, asker of questions not asked, whole free and kind spirit enhanced and inspired countless people whose lives he touched personally.

He was a husband for 69 years, father of two girls and grandfather to grandchildren and great grandchildren. He was a Christian. He loved the Lord.

On each side of the casket were several flowers and pictures of Steam Train Maury.

The casket was a metallic light blue. On the light blue cover of the lid was a picture of a

steam train with smoke coming out of the smokestack. Above the handle railing on the two sides were three close up pictures of a steam train. On the four corners of the casket were pictures of the same steam train.

The service began with a tape being sung by Liberty Justice called “I Want to Ride a Freight Train to Heaven”. The closing song was the Lords Prayer. Pastor Roy Lawinsky of the Seventh Day Adventist Church opening statement after reading the Obituary was I have a relative married to a relative of Steamtrain. I wasn’t sure I wanted my family member married to a hobo. I read his book, Tales of Iron Road, Hobo Life of Maury Graham. After reading the book the pastor said, I wanted to know more about this man and his interesting life. The pastor read the eulogy written by his daughter, Alice.

After the service the pall bearers carried the casket to the black hearse for the final ride of Steam Train Maury Graham where he will rest in peace at Restlawn Cemetery in Perrysburg Twp, Ohio . His last ride was a long one going several miles to the cemetery. The procession crossed two large train yards. At Restlawn Cemetery you could hear the whistles of the trains near by.

As we entered the mausoleum two soldiers stood their as part of the military escort. Inside the mausoleum the casket was fully draped with the American Flag. A soldier marched to the head of the casket and gave a salute. He was joined by another soldier. After Taps were played they took the draped flag from the casket and folded it and presented it to Wanda, his wife. The soldiers then marched out. This concluded the military services.

A staff member of the funeral home stated the family invites the guests to dinner at Seventh-Day Adventist Church that the Grahams belonged too. A buffet table was set up with capacity of four serving lines. A delicious meal was enjoyed. This concluded the services for our friend Hobo King Patriarch (Father/Grandfather) of the hobos.

On the note card given out at the funeral home was this poem:

Bend In the Road

Sometimes we come to life’s crossroads

And we view what we think is the end.

But God has a much wider vision

And He knows that it’s only a bend…

The road will go on and get smoother

And after we’ve stopped for a rest,

The path that lies hidden beyond us

is often the path that is best

So rest and relax and grow stronger,

Let go and let God share your load

And have faith in a brighter tomorrow.

You’ve just come to a bend in the road.

Please remember Wanda, his loving wife, for 69 years. She too wore many hats being married to Steamtrain Maury. She was the lady behind the scenes: his private therapist during his stokes, his breadwinner paying the bills when he took off as a hobo, wife and mother of his two children, chauffer, Mrs. Santa, caregiver during his illnesses, military wife, and most of all his best friend.

I have heard people remark over and over in the last few years I came to Britt because I read an article in Reader’s Digest and I wanted to meet this man. Steamtrain was a human magnet that attracted people wanting to meet him or be around him. He touched lives.

In 2006 at Britt I did a Wall to honor Vets. In 2007 at Britt I will do a wall, In Remembrance of Steam Train Maury – A Celebration of His Life. The tribute will be on the wall at the end of the Hobo Shelter at the Jungle. I will be asking for photos and information soon. Donations will be received at the wall for the new Hobo Museum in honor of Maurice W. “Steam Train Maury” Graham. All change and money collected this year for the Queens Drive will be in his honor.

Hugs, Mama Jo – Hobo Queen 2003/2004

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he lived the life that many of us wish we could...

 

Rest in Peace Maury.... you will be missed and remembered by many....

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"When a hobo catches the Westbound, he's not done at the end of the funeral service.

His spirit goes off into the sunset, and you try to continue with his beliefs and philosphies."

 

I like that, continue the beliefs and philosophies...

 

rip

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rest in paradise... you took the road less traveled and stayed on it til the end

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