Polka Promoter Bernie Goydish Passes On
NEW JERSEY – Bernie Goydish was born Feb. 17, 1940 in Tresckow, PA. He graduated from West Hazleton High School, attended Penn State University, Rutgers University and Thomas Edison College. He held degrees in chemistry and accounting. For 27 years Bernie was employed as a chemist and chemical control manager for the RCA Research Labs in Princeton, NJ.From his research and development work with digital video at RCA, Bernie gained a United States Patent. Following his chemistry career he taught middle school science and math.
Since 1963, Bernie resided in Hillsborough, New Jersey. He spent decades promoting polka music entertainment as a musician, bandleader, recording engineer, polka record producer, disc jockey, and polka music festival promoter. His nearly sixty year polka music career began in 1956 as a drummer with a 4-piece Hazleton area polka band called Jackie Lesko’s Skyrockets and progressed to his own band called Bernie Goydish and his Tic-Toc Orchestra. In the late 1960’s he created LeMans Records and Sound Studios, which became a major polka-recording label. Over 140 albums were recorded and many new and young polka artists were introduced to the polka world. His LeMans recordings have won awards from many polka music associations, as well as a nomination for a Grammy award. Bernie’s recording of the “Suicide Polka” was played in its entirety in the movie Spiderman 2. His Polka Hits music distributorship helped get polka music into many commercial retail outlets.
For 40 years as a polka DJ, his shows were heard on WCTC and WBRW in New Jersey, WGPA and WLSH in Pennsylvania and most recently heard on www.247polkaheaven.com.
Bernie first introduced the polka weekend concept in the New York Catskill Mountains in the early 1970’s and then in the 1980’s in Atlantic City. For thirty-two years he promoted the Polka Spree by the Sea in Wildwood, NJ. He also promoted the Sunnybrook Polka Spree in Pottstown, PA and coordinated the National Polka Festival in Hunter Mountain, NY.
Bernie was an active member of the Polish-American community, who dedicated himself to promoting Polish-American heritage, culture, music and scholarships. He served as president of the Polish American Cultural Endeavors Association and as plaza and stage chairman of the Polish Heritage Festival at the Garden State Arts Center. He contributed his talents to raising funds for charitable causes, including having raised over a quarter million dollars for the American Heart Association, The Cancer Society, Deborah Hospital and scholarships for high school seniors, including the Freddy K. Jr. Memorial Scholarship.
He received awards, honors and recognition from numerous organizations including: proclamations from the U. S. Senate, the New Jersey Senate and Assembly, the New Jersey Mayor’s Association, the Union County (NJ) Board of Freeholders, Polish American World’s Citizen of the Year, P.A.C.E.’s Man of the Year, the Marconi Society, the cities of Wildwood and Perth Amboy, New Jersey and numerous awards from the Knights of Columbus, Elks, and Moose organizations and high school band and PTA groups.
Bernie’s accomplishments and dedication for years of promoting polka music were recognized with his induction in 1984, into the Polka Music Hall of Fame, the United States Polka Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and the Polka America Corporation Frankie Yankovic Award.
Bernie is survived by his four children: daughters Christine Wolinski, Bernadette Goydish, Nicole Geary, and son, Bernie Marc. Bernie is also survived by his sisters, Bernadine Ensor and Anna Grusetskie. He was the proud grandfather of nine grandchildren, Michael, Mark, Thomas, Brandon, Holly, Jessica, Nicholas, Courtney and Hunter.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research or Deborah Heart and Lung Center.
Submitted by Bruce Zamorski