Don McGeorge has been a volunteer at the historical society over 10 years
PASO ROBLES — On June 23, Don McGeorge was announced as the Paso Robles Area Historical Society and Museum’s (PRAHS) Volunteer of the Year.
McGeorge grew up in Paso Robles after moving to the area with his family at 10 years old. At the same time, another PRAHS volunteer, Terry Minshull had also moved to Paso Robles. The two eventually became lifelong friends.
“I love Paso Robles history,” says McGeorge, who had been volunteering at PRAHS since 2009.
McGeorge started out on the board of directors for the historical society, but his neighbor soon convinced him to join as a docent. After one visit to the museum, located in the Carnegie Library at the center of Paso Robles City Park, McGeorge was hooked.
“I love this town. It’s my favorite town that I’ve ever been in … But I learned so much since I’ve worked here,” said McGeorge.
The tales of Jesse James in Paso Robles is one of McGeorge’s favorite pieces of the city’s history. He enjoys taking people around the museum and sharing what he knows of the city’s deep roots and stories.
McGeorge was announced as Volunteer of the Year at the PRAHS annual meeting, held at Cass Winery, on June 23.
It came as a surprise to McGeorge, as he said “Who expects anything like that?”
After two years attending Cal Poly, McGeorge switched from studying aeronautical engineering to attending ArtCenter Design School in Los Angeles to become an illustrator.
As a child, McGeorge loved to draw airplanes. His father worked for Federal Aviation Administration, instilling a lifelong interest in the industry for McGeorge. So he thought becoming an aeronautical engineer would mean designing and drawing airplanes. The field ended up being a bit less exciting than McGeorge thought.
Then one year for Christmas, McGeorge made Christmas cards for family and friends, sending one to a friend’s father, who was a cartoonist.
McGeorge soon received a call from the friend’s father who told him he needed to be an artist, not an engineer.
So eventually, McGeorge pursued art and eventually became an illustrator for different companies over his 40-year career. Now, McGeorge enjoys water coloring in his free time. Illustrating wildlife is his favorite.
“Doing something that you really love for work … your life is great because you spend most of your waking hours at work,” said McGeorge, “And when you love it, it’s a great life. So I was very lucky.”
In 2001, McGeorge moved back to Paso Robles after retiring, which he says was the best move he ever made.
McGeorge, who has been intrigued with Paso history since childhood, also loves his job at the museum. He enjoys seeing what treasure finder Dale Hiner finds and adds to his exhibit.
But he also loves working with lifelong friend Minshull.
“This is important to me. I love sharing everything with people,” said McGeorge. “I enjoy that, and it’s a really good day. And then working with Terry, somebody I went to high school with. And we have a lot of fun. He is a character. We have a good time working here.”