The Hartlepool man who had an American park named after him

George Mudd.
George Mudd.

When George Mudd left Hartlepool for America, it was the start of a journey which would make an impression - on the man and the country he arrived in.

We are indebted to the family of George for a fascinating insight into his life.

George loved to get away from the Florida heat. He is pictured playing his Indian flute at his brother's cottage.

George loved to get away from the Florida heat. He is pictured playing his Indian flute at his brother's cottage.

It was only last week that we first told how George swapped England for a life in Boca Raton, the Florida city that he called home.

This is a man who had survived a hurricane by fleeing his home and taking refuge in a school with hundreds of other evacuees, as told in our first article.

But that story also told how George, who used to work at the baths in Seaton Carew, was much more than just a hurricane survivor.

He became deputy city manager of Margate in Florida and had previously been the recreation director for a number of years. He was certainly held in high regard for his work.

He visited his brothers every year here in Canada, as well as annual visits to Hartlepool to see our mam Kathleen

Eric Mudd

At one point, he was voted the Million Dollar Employee of the Year in a citation which praised his “extensive devotion to the city”.

We asked for more information on him, and his brother Eric Mudd provided us with answers.

And that included the fact that George had a park named after him. In fact, this was a man who really made his mark on North America.

He worked in a swimming pool and been the director of a boys’ club, both in Canada. He was a diving coach in Toronto and then moved to Florida, where he was the parks and recreation director.

Sadly, George passed away in 2009, aged 75, after a battle with leukaemia which had lasted for years. He left a wife, three children, one grandchild and had three brothers, including Eric.

His mother was Mrs Kathleen Mudd, of Wansbeck Gardens in Hartlepool.

Eric told us that Kathleen lived in Wansbeck Gardens from 1948 until her death at age 93.

He added: “He visited his brothers every year here in Canada, as well as annual visits to Hartlepool to see our mam Kathleen.”

From 1962, Boca Raton had been the place George called home.

His life in the USA had also included holding the position of chairman of the Community School Advisory Board, and consultant for the Center for Community Education of Florida Atlantic University.

There were many awards held by this former Hartlepool man, after whom the George Mudd Park in Margate was named.

Our original article told how his mum Kathleen heard that the hurricane had hit, and when she did she phoned her son.

She was told that the aerial had been ripped off the roof of George’s house and his garden was flooded.

The drama was sufficient to make the pages of the Hartlepool Mail - and to prompt Eric to get in touch when we featured it decades later.