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Spayde, Gladys, 1919-2004



  • Existence: 1919 - 2004


Gladys Spayde was born in Fargo, North Dakota in 1919. Her mother, Ida Carlson, was a country schoolteacher, and her father, John Alfred Carlson, was a wheat salesman. Both were Canadian. Spayde, therefore, spent much of her early childhood in Saskatchewan. When Spayde was 12, her mother died of a heart condition, followed by her father a year later due to a stroke. Spayde went to live with her aunt and uncle, Esther and Fritz Helstrom, in Vermillion, South Dakota. It was during her high school years that Spayde became actively involved in the theater, participating in speech, drama, and choral productions.

Spayde earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of South Dakota in1942. From there, she went on to perform in the Cleveland Playhouse as an actress, joining the USO Camp Shows ensemble during World War II. Her nine and a half month engagement took her to Italy and Germany, where the Camp Shows entertained American soldiers. As a tourist in Germany, Spayde was present in the press box during part of the Nuremberg Trials.

After the war, Spayde accepted a teaching position in Buffalo, New York, where she became a speech and drama educator. During the summers, Spayde enjoyed a recurring role as lead actress in the Black Hills Playhouse in South Dakota. It was during a Black Hills production that Spayde met her husband, director Sydney Spayde. The couple married in 1950. Spayde would eventually teach in schools in Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa. In 1969, she completed a Master of Arts degree in Speech from the University of South Dakota. While serving as English, Speech and Communications teacher in the Fairfield Community Public School System, Spayde was nominated for Iowa Teacher of the Year. Sidney and Gladys Spayde have a son, Jon.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Gladys Spayde papers

Identifier: IWA0042

Stage actress who spent her childhood in Saskatchewan and was a teacher in Fairfield, Iowa.

Dates: 1932-1982