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.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller