Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Lawrence Welk a Catholic - who knew?

Another "Who Knew?" discovery of a Catholic celebrity.

Lawrence Welk is one of my guilty pleasures. I grew up watching his TV show faithfully, since my parents and grandparents loved him. I secretly liked him too, but how could I admit that in the 1970's? Even today, when PBS runs a fund-raiser reunion program, I watch it, and sing along with the closing song ".....adios, au revoir, auf Wiedersehn......good NIGHT!"

His parents were Bavarian-born Catholic farmers who fled the Ukraine in the 1870-80's because of religious persecution. They found farmland in Strasburg, North Dakota and settled there in the 1890's. Lawrence was born in 1903.

While Lawrence was pursuing his band career, he and his wife Fern moved to River Forest, Illinois, which is where Fern wanted to stay:
So he called me and said, "Fern, I think we found our niche. I think we should think about moving to California." I said, "Before we pull up stakes, let's feel reasonably sure it is the place. If it is the place, I'll take the children and come. But," I said, "we have three kids, we're situated so well, we have grade school, high school and college within three blocks of us." Rosary College was there, Trinity High School and St. Vincent School all within three blocks of us. However, when the kids got up to college, none of them attended Rosary College. They wanted to go away like kids do when they get to that age, or most kids anyway.

Cool in a two-degrees-of-separation way because I went to Trinity High School. (I also know someone who is good friends with someone who was Cher's hairdresser. We have to get our celebrity jollies where we can...)

Fern and Lawrence Welk attended St. Monica's Church. Read the link on the quote above for an interview with Fern about their life on the road, includes an occasional mention of church.

UPDATE: Whoops, forgot a biretta tip to Fr. Sibley whose post about Lawrence Welk brought a comment about the Welkman going to daily Mass, which got me started. Mea culpa.


Unknown said...

Lawrence and his wife were married right here at St. Boniface in Sioux City, IA.



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