Linda Diane Martin went to dance before the Lord Sunday, Feb. 3, after a short illness.
Her husband of 49 years, Jim, and son, James, were at her side along with son, Cory, and brother, Jerry Ball, and best friend, Marcie Wall.
Her husband Jim, son James and wife Sophie, son Cory and wife Janna and their children Lucas, Gabriel, McKay and Clara survive her. She is also survived by brother Jerry and wife Paula and brother James.
Linda was born to James and Myrtle (Cox) Ball on Feb. 2, 1945.
Linda, founder of Martin’s School of Dance, taught dance for more than 50 years.
Even though she didn’t begin her own dance training until age 14, she caught the preforming bug early in life. She believed she was born with it. As a child, Linda put on backyard performances for friends and family and organized and directed parades around her neighborhood.
Fortunately, Linda stumbled upon a ballet book in the Kennewick library while in the eighth grade. As she practiced the ballet positions, a friend invited her to attend a dance class on Saturday morning and thus, a star was born. For more than a year, the passionate little dancer snuck out of her parents’ house to attend class. She never wanted to miss a class, but she was afraid of what her parents would say as she came from a Southern Baptist background. Linda’s worries turned out to be unfounded because when told of her passion for dance, her daddy didn’t bat an eyelash. Once her secret was revealed, dancing became something Martin loved to do. She continued to take dance classes even when she left Sunnyside for a short period as a young adult.
Linda often taught dance to help pay for her classes. Her parents thought it was going to be a passing fancy, often asking her, “When are you going to get a real job?”
Upon graduation from high school, Linda moved to Mississippi to attend a business college. That was not her cup of tea. She learned that her passion for dance was stronger than her passion for business.
It was in Jackson, Miss., that she began her formal training at the premier dance school, Jackson Ballet Guild. Rex Cooper and Albia Kavan, who danced with the American Ballet in New York, trained the budding ballerina. She slowly and patiently worked her way from the back of the line, with the beginners, to the front.
Linda opened her first dance studio in 1967 in Jackson, Miss., called “DixiLyn School of Dance”. She also taught in several other well-known studios throughout the South. In the late 1970’s she returned to Sunnyside and opened Martin Academy of Dance and Gymnastics. She began teaching dance and gymnastic classes here for the next few years. In 1982, she decided to change locations again and returned to the South. There, she continued to teach dance and gymnastics, opening her studio called “Dance Unlimited”.
Fortunately for all the students here in the valley, she stuck with it. In 1988, after moving back to Sunnyside, the eager dance instructor opened “Martin’s School of Dance”. The dance studio has been a staple of Sunnyside ever since.
The name of the studio may have changed, as did her location occasionally, but her love for the dance and the drive to teach, never changed.
Linda has touched the lives of so many people that almost anyone you talk to in the valley has known someone who has taken dance from Linda Martin.
Memorial services for our wonderful dance instructor and dear friend Linda Martin, planned for Saturday, Feb 9, was cancelled due to the weather. It will be rescheduled at a later date at her dance studio, 1420 E Edison, Sunnyside.
Those wishing to donate in her name to the dance school, will be helping aspiring dancers in the valley.
Those wishing to sign Linda’s online memorial book may do so at www.funeralhomesmith.com
Smith Funeral Home is in care of the arrangements.