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Walter Muir

May 27, 1916 - December 9, 2004

Walter Muir (born Funk), grandson of John Muir
  • Born Walter Muir Funk, Walter was one of four sons of John Muir's daughter Helen and her husband Buel Bunk. His father died in a car accident on October 3, 1934. In 1940, he and two of his brothers, Stanley and John Funk, changed their surname to Muir. Walter has explained: "John Muir had had no sons so we petitioned the court for permission to change our names to his. Three of us had Muir as our middle name, so the court just chopped off the Funk." The fourth brother, Muir Funk, did not change his name, for obvious reasons. (Although some sources state that Muir later changed name to Wayne Muir, his son Michael Funk states that his father never changed his name (Personal Communication, February 9, 2005) and his gravestone retains the name Muir Funk.)

  • In 1915, with money inherited from her father, Walter's mother Helen and her husband Buel built a handsome, Spanish- style mansion in Daggett. Here Walter Muir Funk was born on May 27, 1916. From 1923 to 1925, his parents turned the house into a tuberculosis sanitarium known as both Casa Desierto Sanitarium and Desertaire.

  • Walter and his brothers lived in that large house in the outskirts of Daggett. Buel Funk had taken over an abandoned gold mine in the Ship Mountains, just east of Cadiz. After his death — from 1938 to approximately 1943 - his three youngest sons worked the mine. According to Walter, "Stan and Johnny worked below ground, and I stayed on top, running the mill. Stan had a nose for ore where otherpeople had missed it." Walter's son Earl Earl lived for a time on the mine site, and his grandson Dan later attempetd to reclaim the mine, which had been damaged by a flood in the 1940's.

  • Walter and his brothers sold the Daggett house in 1940, He lived for some years in Hesperia and Highland, also in San Bernardino County.

  • He was married to Margaret Barfay Guy in Kingman, Arizona, on 10 August 1939. The couple had a son Earl, a daughter Marlene, and some seven grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

  • In 2000, Walter told an interviewer that he had every book written by his famous grandfather and many written about him by other authors. He told the interviewer, "The more I study him and the things he did, the more amazed I am. He had the most incredible way of describing things, in words I wouldn't even think of."

  • Walter provided the voice reading for a John Muir quote "In God's wildness lies the hope of the world..." in the John Muir Tribute CD, published in 2000.

  • Sources: "rticles: "Walter Muir, grandson of the naturalist John Muir, returns to the house in Daggett where he was born and spent his boyhood" by Stuart Kellogg, Victorville Daily Press , 2000, (Victorville, Calif.- offsite link to Wayback Machine); "Grandson of Muir dies at 88" By Wesley G.Hughes (San Bernardino County Sun, December 11, 2004).

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