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Martha O. (Erickson) Sims

Martha O. (Erickson) Sims, 87, died Sunday, July 22, 2007, at her current home, Edgewood Vista, Duluth, following a lengthy illness. She was born April 8, 1920, in Superior to Oscar and Ona (Culver) Erickson and was a resident of Superior. Her li...

Martha O. (Erickson) Sims, 87, died Sunday, July 22, 2007, at her current home, Edgewood Vista, Duluth, following a lengthy illness.

She was born April 8, 1920, in Superior to Oscar and Ona (Culver) Erickson and was a resident of Superior. Her lifelong commitment to dance began at age 5 and by 13 she was teaching dance to others. The family all took part and her brother Dick was Martha's first dance partner.

Martha graduated from The Dancing Masters School of Chicago and eventually opened her own dance studio in Superior. She later ventured to California to begin a professional career under the stage name "Gwyn Barkley." She was able to participate in several Hollywood movies in the 1940s. After returning from Hollywood, Martha once again opened her dance studio in Superior, allowing her to travel extensively with her dancing revue. Her passion and commitment to dance allowed her to teach until 2005.

Late in life she was best known for her involvement with the Elkettes in Superior. She was a member of the Elks Club in Superior and St. Alban's Episcopal Church.

She was preceded in death by her husband, William "Bill" Sims; son, Steven Sims; mother, Ona Erickson; father, Oscar Erickson; and brother, Richard "Dick" Erickson.

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She is survived by her son, Bill Sims Jr. (Lisa), Duluth; grandchildren, Michael Anderson, Florida, Nicole (Jon) Noll, Duluth, Karisa Lundberg, Duluth, Reid Gilbertson, Duluth; great-grandchildren, Mercedes, Alex, Kyle, new arrival Kolyn and many nieces and nephews. Martha is truly loved and will be deeply missed.

Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. Friday with a memorial service to follow at 11 a.m. at Downs Funeral Home, 1617 N. 19th St., Superior. A gathering will follow at the Elk's Lodge, 1503 Belknap St., Superior.

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