I met George “Mighty Mouse” McCloud at the Burger King on Veterans Parkway.
Some of you might recall the column I wrote about him two years ago recounting the experience.
I was carrying my laptop in the fast-food restaurant when he struck up a conversation.
Mr. McCloud, you see, had no idea how to use a computer, and he wanted my help.
Mr. McCloud was a Korean War Veteran who had worked 30 years as an airline mechanic. He earned the nickname “Mighty Mouse” playing high school football in Miami as a 5-foot-6 quarterback, weighing 130 pounds. “I had no fear,” he said. “Just didn’t realize it was a big man’s game.”
When I met him, he was house-sitting for his son, who was stationed in Alaska with the military.
Mr. McCloud was a man of routine. He went to Burger King practically every morning for the $2.25 senior deal before going to Circle K to play the lottery and check the horoscopes in the Ledger-Enquirer.
I was so fascinated with his story that I wrote the column, which drew positive feedback from many readers. Some had run into him around town and loved his endearing personality.
From there, Mr. McCloud and I became friends. He always called me “darling” and let me know he was my biggest fan. Sometimes, we would talk in the evenings while I walked my dog, Country, and he would pontificate about life. He was a man of wisdom who loved his family and friends.
Well, the last time I spoke to Mr. McCloud was at the end of June. He said his son’s family was returning to Columbus and he was moving to a new apartment. He stopped calling after that, and as the weeks went by I became a little concerned. I tried calling his number and got a recording saying the number was no longer in service. I began to suspect something bad had happened.
So last week I Googled his name and an obit popped up for a George McCloud who died in Columbus on June 28. The deceased was 83 years old, and a homegoing celebration was to be held July 5 with military honors at Progressive Funeral Home. I found out later that the deceased was indeed the retired airplane mechanic, George “Mighty Mouse” McCloud.
Upon contacting the Muscogee County Coroner’s Office, I learned of the circumstances of Mr. McCloud’s death. His landlord, Lesley Trawick, returned from vacation and knocked on his door, according to the death report. When she got no response, she called 911 for a wellness check, and EMS and Columbus police officers found Mr. McCloud’s body on the floor. Officials said he died of natural causes.
On Thursday, Trawick said her family owns the Wade Cleaners near the Burger King where Mr. McCloud and I first met. He visited the cleaners regularly, and they became friends. When he needed an apartment, she rented him the space. And, like me, she felt blessed to know him.
So, today, I mourn the loss of a great American, and I regret that it took so long for me to learn of his passing.
I didn’t make it to the funeral, but he’s someone I won’t forget.