Just recently, one of the “regulars” at the Oasis Ballroom in Michigan City passed away – Martha Keserich Vance, known to most as Martha Nash. I thank Patty Nocek of the La Porte County Health Department for sharing Martha’s obituary. Martha sang regularly at the Oasis Ballroom in Michigan City with the Mickey Isley band and also at the Aragon and Trianon Ballrooms in Chicago. She was well-known for her renditions of “The Muffin Man,” “Sugar Blues” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Of course, in demand at all of her appearances was her favorite song “Martha,” and the audiences always expected her rendition at every performance.

She was born in Gary of Austrian-Croatian parents, and was one of 12 children. She attended and graduated from the now closed Gary Emerson High School. While there, she sang in school choirs and played several wind instruments. She was reportedly always musically oriented. After graduation, she went to work in the offices of U. S. Steel’s Gary Works. During the Great Depression, she participated with two other singers and they called themselves the Nash Sisters. Martha decided to keep the name Nash after this trio disbanded.

Local Lore is a monthly column by La Porte County Historian Fern Eddy Schultz.

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