By Cari Murotani
Northwest Asian Weekly
The fact that women ask Gene Moy to dance is not surprising, considering he knows all the steps to the various ballroom styles and has good rhythm. Moy dances several times a week and drives to different locations in Seattle, Renton, Tukwila, Kent, and Des Moines. The fact that Moy has the stamina to dance every song that is played can be considered remarkable. What makes Moy so extraordinarily impressive is that he is 97.
Moy was born on April 8, 1917 in Toishan, China to Leong Shee and Yee Chong Moy. He came to the United States in 1930, when he was 13 years old and lived in Lewiston, Idaho with his father, who owned a restaurant. Moy could only attend school until the 8th grade, because he had to work at the restaurant to help his father support their family. His mother and younger brother were still in China, so he helped by washing dishes and cleaning up in order to send money back to them. Moy speaks English and Cantonese.
Moy joined the United States Army from 1941 to 1946. During his service, he lived in Nagoya, Japan for six months, the Philippines for six months, and the South Seas for nine months. In 1946, he relocated to Seattle, where he worked as a Boeing mechanic. His first marriage ended in divorce after three years, and then in 1950, he married his present wife Priscilla Moy. They have four children and seven grandchildren. His younger brother, Gow Moy, 93, lives in Chicago.
Moy started dancing in 1941, when he was in the Army, and hasn’t stopped since. He bowled in a league at Main Bowl and Imperial Lanes every day from 1950 to 1960 with an average of 170. He used to play poker and play the harmonica for fun. But says now he is too busy dancing to play poker. His favorite foods are steak and king crab. He likes to travel and has been on 16 cruises all over the world. He has not traveled since his wife has been in a wheelchair. Now his only form of recreation and exercise is dancing. His favorite song is “Never on Sunday,” to which he likes to dance cha cha. He serenades while dancing. Other favorite dances are swing, waltz, tango, and rumba. Always a gentleman, Moy wears a long-sleeve dress shirt and slacks when dancing.
Recent studies have shown a correlation between dancing and lowering the risk of dementia by improving the cognitive reserve of the neural pathways of the brain. Moy is an excellent example of the health benefits of dancing. He has a straight posture, standing at 5’7”, 160 pounds with no belly fat. He is not only fit, but is a caregiver for his younger wife. He appears happy, healthy, has a quick wit, good vision, hearing, and still drives. He has a stunning memory with rapid recall and fires off names, dates, and locations without hesitation when asked questions. When told that he is an inspiration to others, he modestly replies that he is normal and nothing special. But Gene Moy is special and he is an inspiration to dancers of all ages. (end)