Parks and Recreation Image


Juneau-Douglas City Museum


Sperling, Mary Gertrude Halm

by Harry, Mary, David & Bill Sperling
UID=1061


MARY GERTRUDE HALM SPERLING
(1900-1948)

As mentioned, Mamie was born in San Francisco but grew up in Douglas. She started piano at an early age but didn’t have one to practice on until she proved herself to her father. At some early period she went to a convent in Canada and according to her brother, John, won several piano contests. When in Seattle with the family 1918-1920, she played for music stores to sell sheet music and after returning to Juneau when she was 20 years old, she wrote her compositions for the silent movies. It was in the “pit” that her future husband kept trying to hold her hands while she was playing. They married in 1923. They had a short life together, less than 25 years, but did have four children, two years apart; Harry, Mary, David, and Bill Sperling. Music was a big part of their lives. Mother at the piano and Dad singing. Mother performed at most musical functions in town. Quite often she played with Klondy Dufresne, a concert violinist. In 1948, Mamie had a cerebral hemorrhage while giving a dinner party. She died within two hours at the age of 47.