Nebraska storyteller Roger Welsch dies at 85

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LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska Examiner) — Roger Welsch, a humorist and master spinner of tales about rural Nebraska life, died Friday, according to Nebraska Public Media.

Welsch announced Tuesday on Facebook that he was entering a hospice program.

In recent Facebook posts, he said that he was battling kidney problems and that he had had several bad falls.

In his post Tuesday, Welsch said his “deterioration” had progressed faster than expected, so he was entering a hospice program. This, he wrote, would be his last post “before I go to the great Facebook site over the Fourth Hill.”

Welsch, 85, was best known for his “Postcards from Nebraska” segments that he used to produce for the “Sunday Morning” show on CBS.

Known eventually as “Captain Nebraska,” he established a “Liars Hall of Fame” in his adopted hometown of Dannebrog and wrote several books about love, tractors, dogs and women, including “Everything I Learned about Women I Learned from Tractors.”

He first drew attention in 1974, when he ran for the weed control board in Lancaster County on a “pro-weed” platform.

That caught the attention of the legendary “On the Road” reporter for CBS, Charles Kuralt, who did a segment on Nebraska’s weed-loving humorist, which led to Welsch’s 13-year stint on “Sunday Morning.”

In 2007, Welsch donated his acreage near Dannebrog to the Pawnee Indian Tribe, the original inhabitants of that area of central Nebraska.

He was quoted by a Tulsa World reporter when the Pawnee accepted the deed: “These people are not guests on our land, but rather we are guests on their land.”

On Tuesday, Welsch asked that people not visit him, but donate to a local humane society.

His final Facebook post:

“It is said that every story has to have a beginning, middle, and end. We’ve been taking care of the first two, to a fare-thee-well, since I started telling stories around 1958. And the saga has taken one strange turn after another over the years, sometimes day by day, often to my total surprise.

“Those who write fiction know that the characters in a story wind up doing things that are not at all planned by the author. They just happen.

“And, my dear friends, that’s where I am now. As so often has been the case, it seems I am no longer making the decisions; decisions are being made for me.

“My deterioration has accelerated far faster than I ever thought it would. Linda says I too often seem cheery in these Facebook posts but this time there’s no avoiding the inevitable processes.

“I have a few days. I have entered a hospice process; this will be my final post before I go to the great Facebook site over the Fourth Hill.

“Thank you all for your patience and compassion. I wish I could notify all of you separately but there are too many other intervening factors at this point. They said the process would take 7 to 10 days but after the last couple of days, that seems to be unrealistic.

“I wish you all well and hope you enjoy at least half as many wonderful adventures as I have these past 85 years. You have been blessed with one life. Live it well.

“As my friend Vicki said it to me when my brother Chuck Trimble died, “Now he knows the answers.”

“I’ll let you know what I find out!”

Categories: Nebraska News, News