Famed humorist and folklorist Roger Welsch, made famous with his Sunday morning “Postcards from Nebraska” segments on CBS News, has died at age 85 of kidney failure.
In addition to the CBS News segments, Welsch also published over 40 books and worked to reform the local historical society, as well as returning the Pawnee Native American tribe to the state.
His career showed his love for his state and his adopted hometown of Dannebrog, population 300.
“He was always a champion of the common person,” his son Chris said about him.
A charmed life
Welsch was a professor of folklore and anthropology in the late 1980s when he decided to move to Dannebrog to focus on his writing.
Shortly thereafter, his longtime friend CBS roving correspondent Charles Kuralt asked him to start doing the segments on Sundays, and he did more than 200 of them between 1988 and 2000, when Kuralt died and the network moved on.
“I believe in Nebraska,” Welsch once said. “I love this place for what it is and not for what people think it ought to be.”
After Welsch finished appearing on CBS, he picked up a new hobby — restoring antique tractors.
He ended up writing six books about the process. “I write about things that I love,” he once said.
The return of the Pawnee
With his death, his home on the Loup River will return to the Pawnee people. Already there are hundreds of remains buried on his property, and in 2007 he and his wife Linda, who survived him, donated the property to the tribe.
He also launched the Pawnee Arts Center in 2010.
His son said bringing the Pawnee back to the town was what Welsch was most proud of.