Georgiana Merish (Miller), known as Georgie to her friends, is a real spitfire. She has a spunk and an energy that is infectious, and her spirit is alive and well and was celebrated last month as friends and family gathered at the Symphony Isles clubhouse to celebrate her 100th birthday. In addition to great food, cake and balloons, she even had Riverview’s own Beer Can Island singer Matt Billor perform.
Georgie was born on January 14, 1920 and raised in Bloomingdale, New Jersey. She attended a one-room school in the local township and attended Butler High School. When she was 15 years old, she was a pitcher for the local baseball team.
After high school, she got a job as a shell and ammunition inspector for DuPont, where she worked for five years. She remembers rationing and there being no gas to buy but she still managed to splurge on a $100 fur coat with her first two paychecks from her job.
Georgie met her husband, Arthur, at the local roller skating rink.
“He used to take me home from the rink,” said Georgie. “Even though it was way out of his way.”
He eventually went into the Army and worked in the ordinance department. He went to Africa, Italy and finally came back to Fort Dix, she detailed.
The couple lived right across from the church they got married in, and Arthur eventually got a job at DuPont. They were married on June 3, 1945.
The young family had two daughters and moved to Vermont for a couple years before thinking about trying Florida out. With two young girls in tow, the family finally settled in Apollo Beach in 1958 as the 12th home to be built in the area.
“My husband wrote to a friend in Tampa and said we wanted a house with a garage,” said Georgie. “So he found a job at Thatcher Glass Company and made glass in North Tampa until it closed.”
Georgie also worked for Cargill as an egg handler for a few years while in Apollo Beach.
Once settled, the girls went to all the local schools and stayed nearby. Daughter Karen worked for Tampa Electric for 39 years before retiring last year. Kathi owns McRoberts Sales, which manages wholesale frozen fish and seafood distribution for zoo and aquarium animals.
Before Arthur’s passing 10 years ago, the couple were competitive square dancers and would go out of state to Fontana, Kansas and Texas for square dance competitions and would perform locally at communities in Sun City Center.
“One day, when we were in our sixties or seventies, Art came home and said he signed us up for a dance class,” said Georgie, “And we both loved it.”
Georgie has two daughters, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
When asked what her secret to a long life is, Georgie said, “Enjoy people, stay active and enjoy life! I like to work in the yard, watch Rays games and my favorite meal is oatmeal cookies and pepperoni pizza.”
Happy Birthday Georgie! Thank you for making Apollo Beach your home!