The Passing of IPA Hall of Famer Florian Chmielewski

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of Florian Chmielewski, a 2015 Hall of Fame Inductee. We offer our deepest condolences and sympathies to his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and all his polka friends and fans.

Florian W. Chmielewski, Sr., age 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, MN, on February 10th, 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 Veteran’s 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, including the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, Ironworld USA Hall of Fame, International Polka Association Hall of Fame, Northeast Accordion Lifetime Achievement, Nine Grammies 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 is preceded in death by his loving and devoted wife Pat (Stolquist) for 47 years, and sons Jeff and Mark Chmielewski. He was the last remaining sibling of the 3rd generation Chmielewski Family.

Florian Chmielewski – Pioneer Category – Inducted 2015 – International Polka Association (

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