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Seniors Got Talent

A Life of Dance: Morning Pointe of East Hamilton Resident Georgia Engle

photo of Georgia Engle

Georgia Engle, an 89-year-old resident at Morning Pointe of East Hamilton, Tennessee, has lived a fascinating life, and through it all, dancing has been a constant.

Early Years

Contrary to her first name, Georgia was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in May 1935, to William and Julia Cormas. Her parents were originally from Greece, and Georgia was named after her grandmother. Georgia had two sisters and two brothers, and she was right in the middle. “I always had a lot of people around me,” she remembered about her childhood. She also remembers speaking, reading and even writing in Greek as she was growing up.

Georgia remembers dancing from her earliest memories. “I’ve danced all my life,” she said.

After high school, she attended Wilkinsburg Business School in Pennsylvania. She married her first husband, chemist Robert Millner, in 1959, after meeting him at a dance. He did not actually know how to dance at the time, but she soon remedied that! The couple moved to the Knoxville, Tennessee, area for Robert’s job.

Georgia and Robert adopted a boy then, and three years later, they adopted a daughter. They were married for 36 years before Bob passed away of a heart condition.

Dancing and Cruising

Her children and the therapy of dancing both helped Georgia with the life transition, and she was a natural when it came to dancing. She was even chosen to take lessons to become a dancing instructor.

“I liked the tango and the Latin American dances the best,” Georgia shared.

But Georgia wasn’t just a dancer on dry land. She also loved dancing on cruises. She and Tom, her second husband, talked with another couple who had taught dancing on cruise ships, and they went through an agency to teach classes a few times together. After trying that out, though, they decided it was better just to go on cruises on their own and not be hired by the cruise ships to teach but just help out the ships’ instructors for fun.

Over her lifetime, Georgia has been on more than 50 cruises! These include cruise lines Costa, Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and others. “Once you’re on a cruise, you either like it or you don’t like it,” she said.

“I loved the fact they always had dance competitions on the cruise ships,” Georgia added. “One time, I asked if they could play the ‘Tennessee Waltz,’ and my husband and I danced to that. We won two bottles of champagne each. I threw in every variety of step I knew, and he was a good follower.”

Those cruises took Georgia to some pretty unique places, too, from Chile, Peru, and Argentina in South America, to traveling to 11 European countries in 12 days! She even visited the town in Greece where her parents were born. She watched a monkey steal a woman’s purse in Gibraltar (“Don’t feed the monkeys,” the tourists were explicitly warned), and she saw kangaroos dotting the Australian countryside like cattle. Each voyage brought a new memory to treasure.

Second Marriage, Career, and Volunteering

As fate would have it, Georgia met her second husband at a dance as well, Thomas Engle. Tom couldn’t dance either, but since he was interested in Georgia, he was motivated to learn.

“He would go home and dance around the kitchen table,” Georgia shared. “He told his mom he found the woman he was going to marry.”

The Engles were married for almost 20 years.

During their marriage, after the children were grown, Georgia worked for Westinghouse for 17 years, doing typing, recordkeeping, records management and retiring as an executive secretary. “I liked any job that had people around me,” she said.

Georgia also did her fair share of volunteering. She helped out with the Girl Scouts’ Brownies and Cub Scouts, teaching reading classes and also dancing. “I taught the Brownies how to polka. Those girls – they had the best time!”

On the other end of the spectrum, she taught dancing at local senior centers, the Knoxville Methodist Church, and even Morning Pointe of Knoxville at one point!

photo of Georgia Engle

Coming to Morning Pointe of East Hamilton

When Georgia got older and started to have some health issues, her daughter and granddaughter in Chattanooga wanted her to move closer to them, so they toured assisted living communities in the area.

“We looked around, and Morning Pointe of East Hamilton was one of the nicer ones,” Georgia said.

She moved in during September 2023. She enjoys having family visit frequently and having support from the staff whenever she needs it.

“I go to any plays or musicals they have here,” she said. “And I just like the friendships when I go down to dinner.”

And although dancing is a little more than her balance can handle now, her sense of rhythm has remained intact.

“I can never keep my feet still,” Georgia said. “If I hear music, my feet start moving.”

Georgia, we are glad you chose to be part of our Morning Pointe family, and we hope the music always gets you moving!

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