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Obituary: Georgia Bryngelson

Georgia Bryngelson
Georgia Bryngelson
Provided Photo

September 2, 1937 – September 9, 2022

Georgia Lou (Carns) Bryngelson died on September 9, 2022 in the Woodlands, Texas. She had just passed her 85th birthday and lived longer than anyone in her family. Georgia’s death was peaceful and brought to close a years-long journey with dementia.

Georgia was born at home on September 2, 1937, in Laughlintown, Pennsylvania to William Harrison Carns and Wilhelmina “Minnie” Elise Marie (Wenker) Carns. Georgia was a bit of a surprise to them, coming 12 years after her next closest sibling (Elsie) and arriving when her parents were 48 and 44 respectively. Her mother had been to the doctor and even had teeth pulled until they realized her symptoms were due to “little Georgie on the way.” She was the baby in her family and adored by her sisters, brothers and nephews.

Growing up, Georgia helped her parents quite a bit. She helped her mom with cooking, cleaning, and canning for the family, which included three of her elder siblings still living at home due to illness. Georgia’s father delivered milk, bread, fruit, groceries and the mail and she helped him in the summers. He ran the Amoco gas station, and Georgia also pumped gas, checked oil, washed windshields, helped changed tires and clerked in exchange for a little spending money and some goodies (her favorites being gobs and twinkies). In the summer evenings, she would work at the station while her father watered his large garden. Her dad would then come relieve her and give treats to Georgia and her friends who had congregated at the store. The gang would often hitch rides out to the Rustic Inn where Georgia could be found dancing, along with her best friend Betty Horrell (née Antonizio). She and “Betty Boop” also delivered newspapers together. They remained lifelong friends and Betty credits her with encouraging her to date the young man who would later become her husband of 62 years.

Georgia was brilliant, and quietly, exceedingly smart. According to Betty, she could play the piano by ear, perfectly. Georgia and her sister Elsie were the only ones in her family who went to school past the 8th grade. Georgia was an avid Girl Scout and earned so many badges, the sleeves of her uniform were filled. In addition to excelling in school, Georgia also enjoyed the social aspects, earning the name “Wrong Way Georgie” from her elementary teacher who often caught her chatting with the person behind her. Throughout her life, Georgia was always one to ask after you and your family, and give you a smile and a hug.

After she graduated high school in 1955, Georgia worked for several businesses in Ligonier. Georgia was awarded a scholarship for nurses’ training at St. Margaret’s in Pittsburgh, which she completed, though she realized during training that nursing was not for her. She wanted to become an airline stewardess, but her parents did not think that was seemly. In 1958, Georgia jumped at the invitation of her friend Anna Pearl (Frye) Hardman and moved to Moorpark, California taking the bus for 3 days and 3 nights cross country with her friend Phyllis Woleslagle. Georgia’s parents thought she’d be back in a few weeks, but she remained in California and began a new life there.

In California, Georgia stayed with Anna Pearl and her husband until and was quickly hired as a medical secretary at the renowned Camarillo State Hospital in Camarillo, California. Georgia was always well-coordinated, and soon made friends with Pat Cunningham – the daughter of the owner of a local dress shop. Rex Cunningham was a state assemblyman and his wife Aileen the dress shop owner. Georgia and Pat took many car trips together, unusual for women at the time. Georgia would tell the stories of how they wore men’s hats when they drove at night so that people wouldn’t know they were women traveling alone. After Rex’s service in the state assembly, the Cunninghams moved to Bellevue, Washington and Georgia followed and lived with Pat’s family. Georgia got to see the end of the World’s Fair in Seattle, and began working at Pacific Car and Foundry in Renton in 1963. Georgia and Pat remained friends until multiple sclerosis claimed Pat’s life in her mid 30s.

In early 1965, Georgia returned to California and interviewed at the 3M Company in Camarillo where she was hired as a statistics analyst, the perfect job for someone who had the fluency with numbers that she did. Georgia was interviewed by Bob Bryngelson, who was impressed by her high intelligence scores (Bob himself would often recall that they well exceeded his). Georgia and Bob met again at Ventura College where they both studied part-time. Bob’s Corvette was in the shop and Georgia offered him a ride to school and thus began their relationship. Bob would become her husband later that year, and together they had two children, Lori Renée in 1966 and Robert Allen in 1968.

After short pregnancy leaves, Georgia continued to work at 3M and was in school part time, until family became more important than school, and she focused on working full time to support Bob’s schooling. When he graduated in 1972, Georgia received a PhT from Bob, signed by his parents and their children, for “Putting Hubby Through.” Once Bob got his first professional job at Getty Oil, Georgia ceased working for 3M and focused on creating a welcoming home and raising two children. She retained a lifelong preference for 3M products which is carried forward by her children (their tape really is the best).

During the years that Lori and Rob were in school, Georgia made everything work and pitched in with Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Show Choir and more, all while keeping her home the way she wanted, with a pleasing routine and home cooking for her family. Bob’s work took the family from California to Scotland, Oklahoma and Texas with a lot of international travel in between. Georgia quickly became the expert in moving and re-settling and was always able to solve a problem or fix something, including finding corn tortillas and taco fixings when the family moved to Scotland in the 1970s.

In 1985, With Lori in college, and Rob at the end of high school, Georgia returned to work as the chief operations officer of MER Engineering, a company that Bob started with and bought from his partner. With the oil industry in a downturn, Georgia’s job was to turn the company around in six months. She did it in three and became computer literate at the same time. The company grew by leaps and bounds and within three years moved to larger spaces with a large staff. As with every other endeavor, Georgia not only made it work, but made it hum, and all the engineers adored her.

Bob and Georgia retired in 1997 and returned to California to design and build their dream home in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, just outside of Nevada City. In retirement, Georgia returned to church and immersed herself in seven years of Bible study. She also began documenting her largest project, her own family’s genealogy. In 2010, after 30 years of research, travel and dedicated recordkeeping, Georgia published two 300+ page books, one on the Carns family and the other on the Wenker family. Both volumes were master works – contributing significantly to the genealogic record. Georgia’s research spanned 14 generations all the way to the year 1505 in Germany.

Georgia was elated to finally have grandchildren beginning in 2001 when her children gave her 3 grandchildren within 3 years. She claimed the name Nana, and Bob, the name Pap Pap. She embraced being Nana and was about the best Nana there was. She always took time to talk with her grandchildren, and cook them their favorite foods, tickle and snuggle them. As a gift to her children and her grandchildren, Georgia then completed a bound three volume history of her life and her children’s lives, titled “Hallelujah!” Her family is ever grateful to have stories and pictures to share with our children and their descendants.

Georgia began a quiet and slow journey with dementia in the years after completing her genealogy. What began as forgetfulness developed more fully over the years and accelerated with the isolation of the pandemic and the decline in Bob’s health. When Bob unexpectedly passed away in February 2022, Georgia moved to Texas to live with and then near Rob and his wife Tania, who cared for her in every way. Her 85th birthday was a happy one, spending it with her family in person and virtually. She passed peacefully one week later, outlasting Queen Elizabeth II by one day. We miss her terribly and at the same time are relieved she is at peace.

Georgia is survived by her daughter Lori Taylor and husband Jim Colton, son Rob Bryngelson and his wife Tania, grandchildren Nicolas Bryngelson, Jasper Taylor and Sebastian Bryngelson, nephews Jim Rabic, Butch Rabic and their families. She was preceded in death by her husband, Bob Bryngelson, her parents, and all her siblings – Wilma Catherine Carns (Kate) in 1955, Elsie Marie Barnhart in 2010, William Harrison Carns Jr. (Bud) in 1998, Russell Charles Carns in 1985, and Harry Barkley Carns in 1933.

In Georgia’s words, “no more than six degrees of separation are present between one person and another, regardless of race or color. We are by faith connected to the first couple created by God – Adam and Eve….It is through genealogy that some of us fulfill the commandment given to us by Jesus – ‘to love one another.’”

The greatest tribute to Georgia would be for us all to love one another.

Funeral services will be held Thursday, September 22 at Sierra Memorial Lawn Cemetery in Nevada City, California, where Georgia will be laid to rest next to Bob. Visitation is at 11:00 AM to be followed by a graveside service. There will also be a lunch following the service.

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