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Fern V. Welk, 98, of Santa Monica, Calif.

"Fern V. Welk, 98, of Santa Monica, Calif." Emmons County Record, 28 February 2002.


Fern V. Welk, 98, of Santa Monica, California, died peacefully in the arms of her loving family Wednesday, February 13, 2002.

Fern was born August 26, 1903, the daughter of Mathias and Elizabeth Renner. She was a source of strength, wisdom, forgiveness and abiding love to all who knew her and her spiritual gifts will remain a rich legacy for her family. Hers was a life that spanned the entire 20th century and which called upon her to meet unimaginable and untested challenges.

Fern was the 13th of 14 children, born to an immigrant family in St. Anthony, North Dakota, who prized education. Eight of her siblings died while Fern was still a child, and her father died when she was three years old. Fern earned an RN degree and began a career in nursing and laboratory work, first in the Dakotas and then in Dallas, Texas. In 1931 she married orchestra leader and ultimately, television personality, Lawrence Welk and began a life of travel and temporary homes throughout the United States. She rejoiced in being a wife and mother but continued to maintain a lifelong interest in medical science and research. She was an avid duplicate bridge player, winning many championships and relished following her small bets at the horse races like a pro. Though marriage brought her into the life of a celebrity, she always knew that her family and her faith brought her life its true wealth. In 1952, Fern and Lawrence finally settled in Los Angeles. She carefully guided the education of her children and saw her grandchildren achieve many college, career and graduate degrees with pride and delight. Their nurturing was her life's joy.

Survivors include three children, Shirley and Bob Fredricks, Donna Mack and Larry and Lynn Welk; 11 grandchildren, Laura and Jeff Segall, Dr. Robert and Becky Fredricks, Dr. David Fredricks, Jonathan and Tracy Fredricks, Lisa and Paul Parker, Dr. James and Jennifer Mack, Christine and Mark Oliver, David and Dr. Jenny Mack, Larry and Tracey Welk, Kevin and Lindy Welk and Jeffrey Welk, and 15 great-grandchildren.

No barrier was a match for her indomitable will. She was a heroine who prevailed over every adversity in her remarkable life. To all who knew her she was an angel whose blessing will continue to light and guide their lives.

Funeral services were held at St. Monica's Church, 725 California Ave., Santa Monica, Tuesday, February. 19, 2002, at 10:30 a.m.

Burial was in Holy Cross Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial gift may be sent to The Lawrence Welk Family Foundation, 2700 Pennsylvania Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404.

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