Obituary: Florian W. Chmielewski Sr.


April 26, 2024

Florian W. Chmielewski Sr., 97, of Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota passed away peacefully in his home surrounded by his family. Florian was one of 15 children born to Tony and Tillie Chmielewski on the family farm in Sturgeon Lake on Feb. 10, 1927. He was a dairy farmer, a world-renowned Minnesota musician, and a state senator for 26 years. Florian's special legislative concerns focused on employment, education, health care, housing and veterans. He was a member of a wide range of committees and subcommittees, including Veterans Affairs, Jobs, Energy, Community Development, Rules and Administration, Transportation and Public Transit, Employment, Local Government, Taxes and Tax Laws, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture. Throughout his musical career, Florian received many awards and honors including the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, Ironworld USA Polka Hall of Fame, International Polka Association Hall of Fame, Northeastern Accordion Lifetime Achievement, nine Minnesota Music Awards - "Minnies" - from the Minnesota Music Academy, Honorary Doctorate of Law and Music Degree, Honorary Doctorate of Musicology, and an International Merit Award. His love of polka music also inspired him to launch the International Polka Festival for 40 years and the Chmielewski Funtime television show for 35 years, seen across the United States and Canada. Florian lived his whole life carrying on his family legacy and did so with a sense of responsibility and pride even while living the past several years with congestive heart failure. He lived life to its fullest and put his faith in God and his religion.

Florian is survived by his children Florian Jr. (Cheryl) Chmielewski and Patty (Michael Bell) Chmielewski; 10 grandchildren, Tony (Jamie), Tiffany (Seth), Jodi (Dan), Amanda (Paul), Ashley, Amber (Jake), Alisha (Geoff), Nick, Lexy and Kati; and 19 great-grandchildren.

Florian was preceded in death by his loving and devoted wife of 47 years, Pat (Stolquist); and sons Jeff and Mark Chmielewski. He was the last remaining sibling of the third generation Chmielewski family.

Visitation: 5-7 p.m. Monday, May 6 in Hamlin-Hansen-Kosloski Funeral Home, Moose Lake. Visitation continues at 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial Tuesday, May 7 in St. Isidore's Catholic Church, Sturgeon Lake. Burial with Military Honors will be held in St. Isidore's Catholic Cemetery, Sturgeon Lake.

Arrangements by Hamlin-Hansen-Kosloski Funeral Home, Moose Lake.


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