Westlake, OH – It’s been years since Erma Fowler set foot under the bright lights of a Broadway theater. But today, as she celebrates 101 years of memories, you can see the sparkle in her eye as she reflects on the days where she once shared a stage with Hollywood elite.
“The key to being a good dancer is eating right and getting plenty of rest,” instructs Fowler, the simple life lessons that today help her enjoy such a significant birthday.
Fowler worked for years as a Las Vegas dancer, which blossomed into the opportunity to travel the county, performing in Broadway shows alongside caliber celebrities like Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
Born on West 40th street in Cleveland to Hungarian immigrants, Fowler and her twin sister Gizella cultivated a love of dance at an early age. This determination and love led Fowler to dance her way into show business as part of the Nellena Dance Studio at age 17. With the nickname “Blondie” and a stage name of “Marsh,” legends, including Frank Sinatra, recognized her style, talent and her ability to make the crowd fall in love with her. With her twin sister performing at her side, the two traveled from coast to coast starring in shows.
“It’s not what I was used to, but my sister and I had the luxury of fame,” Erma said.
Erma later married love Allen Fowler, whom she met in show business. She is currently a resident at the West Bay Care & Rehabilitation Center’s Homestead Alzhemiers’ unit. Though she never had children of her own, that does not stop her from showing her enthusiasm for dance by twirling with visitors’ children and grandchildren at the unit.
ViaQuest staff were all hands on deck in the preparation of Fowler’s birthday. She was joined by her great nephew and niece, along with their two sons. Cupcakes and sparkling cider were a staple at the celebration.
The highlight of the day, however, was the unique performance by nine volunteer dancers of North Royalton Dance Academy. The grand finale, of course — an ode to Frank Sinatra.
The staff of the Homestead Unit fell in love with Erma as easily as her audience. Director Nikki Guarnieri says “she always has a kind word or a smile for staff members at the Homestead Unit, our staff are very proud to have her in their facility.
–She’s a real treasure.”