Community saddened after well known soul named George, a veteran, passed away

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George Middleton

Marion County — People knew him as Mr. George, a man who some called “George the homeless man” or “homeless George,” but everyone knew him as their friend.

His full name is George David Middleton.

Residents say while George appeared homeless, he was actually content and happy with his little slice of paradise located on Jacksonville Rd near 326.

To speak with George, other than his worn clothing, you would never know he was homeless because he was always smiling…he always laughed and never complained. George would tell  you, “I have everything I need right here.”

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If someone offered to help, oftentimes he would refuse.

George talked about family in California a lot. He would often tell people that he was waiting on them to come to Florida.

The military veteran did have a hard time trusting some people, but if you earned his trust, you made a lifelong friend and George made many friends in Marion County.

Colleen Wilber, the first to post the sad news, wrote on Facebook, “George, the homeless man that lived on Jacksonville Rd near 326 is gone. He never begged. He never wanted to leave that area because he was waiting for his family that lived in California as he told me on my many visits with him. He didn’t trust everyone. If you were lucky enough for George to trust you, he would talk to you! RIP Buddy.”

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Miss you already big guy. Sleep well. “Archbishop Apostle Dr. Crawford DD Dth. (John Crawford takes his picture with George.)

Tommy Trulock, wrote, “R.I.P. George. You ain’t homeless anymore.”

During a Thanksgiving dinner giveaway that was hosted by Ocala Post, dozens of residents nominated George to receive the food. Since Goerge did not have a way to cook the meal, it was delivered to him fully prepared. George was invited to dinner…but he insisted to eat where he felt most comfortable. The community respected that about him.

George was so loved, that some residents would even take time out of their Christmas to make sure George had an enjoyable holiday.

Sandra Navarro Sango, wrote, “December 25 and on your birthday, December 31, I am going to miss coming to see you and eating together. I love you George and I am so blessed that we spent a lot of years visiting with you. You WILL BE MISSED.”

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Photo by Sandra Navarro Sango

Caitlynn Rodriguez, wrote, “He was so amazing. I used to work at the subway right there, and I would feed him every day, at first he refused and I would leave it at his tent. He would dig in the garbage for food instead. But after a week or so he came around and was excited to see me. Rest in paradise George!”

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Photo by Sandra Navarro Sango

The community has expressed worry about what will happen to George’s body if no one claims him.

Ocala Resident, Angela Barkley, said she reached out to the Medical Examiners office and was told that if no family shows up to claim him that, after 12 days, she could.

Janna Golladay, wrote, “If he’s a Veteran contact the Veteran Association at the National Cemetery. They will make sure he has a proper service and burial.”

Bonnie Scott agreed, she wrote, ” I agree if he was a vet he can be buried at a national cemetery, no pre-arrangement needed. Would just need to wait for a date to be buried, the funeral home can make arrangements.”

Barkley said she is working on the arrangements for George.

Marilyn Smith, wrote, “We are having a Requiem Mass for George at St. Martin’s Anglican Church on SR326 on Saturday, Aug.21 at 10:00 a.m. We will miss him so much. The church address is 950 NW 70th St. cr., Ocala, Fl. 34472. All are welcome.”

Stacy Clifton, wrote, “George was the kindest, sweetest man I knew. RIP my sweet friend. You will never be forgotten. You touched the lives of SO many. The comments on this post are a testament to the people who loved you”

George, a man with so little but had so much. A man who never bothered anyone. He was a kind soul and certainly never complained. He was not a beggar and would give you the shirt off of his back.

George certainly deserves better…and the community has shown that…they have shown that humanity and compassion are still alive.

“Rest In peace kind, sir. May the road rise up to meet your feet and the wind always is at your back. Blessed be,” Bill Baros.

It is very doubtful that those who regularly pass by the spot George called home can do so without looking over to see him and wave.

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