TOLEDO -- Maury Graham -- an activist who helped many people in our area over the years -- passed away Saturday evening. People knew him as "Steam Train." We're told he suffered a stroke a couple of weeks ago and slipped into a coma. "Steam Train" died in Napoleon. He was 89.
When his book -- "Tales of the Iron Road: My Life As King of the Hobos" -- was released, Publishers Weekly wrote: "Starting in 1931 at age 14, Graham rode the rails until 1980. From a broken home, shunted from father to mother to aunt to married siblings, he found the family he had missed as a child in hobo camps across the country."
Graham stressed that he was a hobo, not a bum or a wino. He said that's a distinction sometimes lost on the public.
News 11 spoke Sunday with a longtime friend of the self-proclaimed hobo, to look back on the unique life "Steam Train" lived. Larry Latimore, also known as "Hippie Hobo," told us "Steam Train" was well-known throughout the hobo community, where he was affectionately called "King of the Hobos."
Latimore said, "You'll never meet a person like him again. When you have a friend like him and he leaves, it leaves a big void in your life."
According to Latimore, "Steam Train" didn't just pass away -- he "took the Westbound." As he explains it, "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."
Latimore was appointed the engineer for the Hobo Westbound by "Steam Train" over 12 years ago. Now he'll use the title as he carries on the tradition that defined Graham's life.
"The Hobo Westbound is a mythical thing," he says. "It's only amongst the hobos and people who know about their lore, but now you guys know about it -- so, to a degree, I've helped the hobos now."
Now that "Steam Train" has climbed aboard the Westbound one last time, his friends take comfort in knowing that the legacy of his life will continue to pick up steam.
Funeral services for "Steam Train" Maury Graham are to be held at Walter Funeral Home on Glendale Avenue in Toledo. Visitation is Tuesday from 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., with a funeral srvice set for Wednesday morning at 10:30.
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