History Culture Lawrence Welk
Fern Welk, 98, Dies in Santa Monica
Widow of Lawrence Welk
Burke, Allan. "Fern Welk, 98, Dies in Santa Monica." Emmonds County Record, 28 February 2002.
Mrs. Fern Welk, widow of Champagne Music Maker
and Strasburg native Lawrence Welk, died at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday,
February. 13, 2002, at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California.
Margaret Heron, long-time secretary to Mr. Welk, said Mrs. Welk's
family was with her when she died.
Heron said Mrs. Welk, who was 98, had been "very active"
until the past year when her health began to fail. She bounced
back from two bouts of pneumonia in the past year and traveled
to Escondido about a month ago.
Following Mr. Welk's death May 17, 1992, Mrs. Welk traveled overseas
with her family, including a trip to Israel, and took them on
an Alaskan tour during which she joined them on a bobsled ride.
"Fern was at Lawrence's side throughout his career, from
the days when he performed in the Midwest and through his national
television show," Margaret said. "They started out with
nothing, and put everything together as a couple."
Margaret, who said the Welks were part of her family too, was
with both of the Welks when they passed away. She has been associated
with the Welks for 41 years.
The funeral Mass was held at St. Monica's Catholic Church in Santa
Monica, which was Lawrence and Fern's parish for many years. The
Mass was celebrated by their pastor, Monsignor Lloyd Torgerson,
and Rev. Donald Reiffle, a personal friend of their daughter,
Donna Mack, of Boise, Idaho.
The casket was welcomed into the church by Henry
Cuesta from the Lawrence Welk Show playing "Just a Closer
Walk With Thee" on the clarinet. During the Mass, Ralna English,
also from the show, sang "Ave Maria" and "On Eagle's
Wings," and, as the casket was taken out, she sang, "How
Great Thou Art."
Granddaughters Lisa Parker and Laura Segall gave
two of the readings. Monsignor Torgerson gave a eulogy as did
Mrs. Welk's daughter, Shirley (Welk) Fredricks.
Gift bearers were three of her great-grandchildren - Katie Segall,
Robert Segall and Ryan Mack.
Pall bearers were five grandsons and one grandson-in-law - Larry
Welk III, Kevin Welk, David Mack, Jeff Segall (married to Laura
Fredricks), James Mack and David Fredricks.
Over 300 people attended, including many from the Lawrence Welk
Show era. Burial followed at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City,
where she rests next to Lawrence.
"Now, they're dancing together," Margaret said.
My family, too.
Reception celebrating Mrs. Welk's life was held at the Beach Club
in Santa Monica, and family members shared their favorite stories
of their mother and grandmother.
to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested
by contacting Michael