Wurstfest Headliner Dies of Cancer
Maloney, Ron. "Wurstfest Headliner Dies of Cancer." Herald-Zeitung, 24 July 2005.
Because of another engagement, Myron Floren will
not be coming back to
Wurstfest, and our signature sausage and heritage festival will
Floren died at his Rolling Hills, Calif. home Saturday
by his family. He was 85. He leaves behind his wife, Berdyne,
daughters and their families.
A memorial service will be set in California at
a later date. The family
has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to a special
that will be set up to benefit the United Service Organization
which books entertainment for American troops overseas. The Herald-Zeitung
will provide that information when it is available.
News of Florens passing came from Wurstfest spokesman,
Herb Skoog, who
said the entertainer best-known around the world as Lawrence Welks
accordion-playing sidekick, succumbed to a long illness.
We got a call about a week ago, telling us he had
probably 24 hours to 48
hours to live, and he rallied, Skoog said. Then we lost him this
Skoog said Floren had passed a very bad time, and
his family suggested he
lie down and sleep. A couple hours later, they realized hed slipped
to play his instrument for the angels.
All of us at Wurstfest are saddened at the news
of the passing of our
friend, Skoog said. Our hearts go out to Berdyne and his family
difficult time. Myron Floren lives in our memories as a true gentle
He was our headline entertainer from his first appearance in the
Wursthalle in 1968 through his last show in 2002.
In all, Floren played at Wurstfest for 34 years,
only missing 1998 to
recover from heart surgery.
During his visits, he was very generous with his
time and talent, going
beyond normal entertaining to visiting nursing homes, civic clubs
doing many visits, Skoog said. He was always warm and courteous
everyone. After doing a long, hour and a half show, he would take
time needed to sign autographs and visit with friends. In all
the years he
entertained at Wurstfest, he remained our Happy Norwiegan.
Floren made many friends in New Braunfels, a city
whose residents could
truly appreciate, as Welk had, Florens virtuosity with his chosen
Even in latter years when he struggled with personal
Floren maintained a cheerful and positive attitude, Skoog said.
Lederhosen-clad Grosse Opas come and go each year
as the master of
ceremonies or local symbol of Wurstfest.
On the national scene, though, it was Florens headliner
power built over
decades of playing for Welk that played the greatest part in making
Wurstfest the nationally known success it is today.
In 1968, when Wurstfest was considering a featured
director Raymond Baese, suggested to the board that Floren be
Skoog said a lot of people scoffed at the idea a
performer like Floren would consider coming to New Braunfels,
called, and Floren loved the idea.
With the passing of Myron Floren, the Lord has a
new, talented member to
add to his fold, and we have lost a member of our Wurstfest family,
said. We will all miss him.
Floren was born in Roslyn, S.D., the eldest of seven
children. At age 7,
he talked his father into ordering a Sears accordion.
He attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, where
he met Berdyne
Koerner, his future wife.
At KSOO radio in Sioux Falls, he played an early
morning show that
featured waltzes and polkas of Polish and Scandinavian origin.
When World War II began, Floren tried to enlist
in the U.S. Army Air
Corps, but was turned down for medical reasons. He enlisted instead
USO and entertained the troops overseas.
When he returned from the war, Floren and Berdyne
lived in Sioux Falls
where Myron had a radio show. In 1946, they moved to St. Louis.
they danced in a ballroom where Welk was appearing, and Welk invited
Floren up to the stage to play a song.
Welk offered Floren a job that night. He joined
Welk in 1950, and stayed
with him until the show ended in 1982. Reruns still play on more
public television stations around the United States.
Biographical information courtesy of the Lawrence
Welk Show Web site, www.lawrencewelk.com