Trustees Honor Roll

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Kotnik, Don

Accordionist, Bandleader (1933-1981)

Don Kotnik was a free-spirited, fun-loving, and carefree guy, whose greatest joy was playing the accordion an appreciative audience. A native of Cleveland, Don started his first band while in high school in the late 1940s. A term in the U.S. Army during the Korean War put a hold on his polka career. In the mid 1960s, the Don Kotnik orchestra made its debut, playing on Polka Varieties television show. Don was a fixture at Gorse's Tavern, a popular polka place. He recorded an album "Polka Life," in 1970, writing several polkas with Jimmy Udovich, the saxophonist in the orchestra. He began recording a second album, but died before completing the project.

Don was buried with his accordion.

November 29, 2003

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