History of the United German American Society Of Florida
During the early years of the 1980s, Gerda Des Jardin of the Pinellas Park club proposed the idea of founding an umbrella organization encompassing all of the German-American Clubs of Florida. At the time, however, there was not enough support to get such an organization rolling and the idea soon died.
In November 1990 John Lange, president of the club in the Palm Beaches, invited the presidents and/or delegates of Casselberry (Heinz Ölker), Cape Coral (Klaus Kohl), Daytona Beach (Fritz Eggerts) and Miami (Hannelore Crothers) to revive the idea of founding an umbrella organization. Several meetings followed at which Fritz Eggerts presided as the President. Ground rules were worked out for a set of bi-laws and a State Charter. On April 13, 1991, ten clubs attended the first general membership meeting which was held in Miami. Officers were elected and John Lange became the first official president. On September 24, 1991, the Articles of Incorporation and the Charter were submitted, approved and sealed by the State.
Chris Schwärzle of Port St Lucie made a motion, which passed unanimously, that the United German American Society of Florida (hereinafter named as UGASF) would celebrate its first Florida German American Heritage Day on April 11, 1992. The Miami club was selected to host this first ever event in Florida. Annual Heritage Day events followed at the Palm Beaches, Casselberry, and Cape Coral and in 1996 amid heavy rain storms in the Osceola Agricultural Center. By this time there were twenty seven member clubs and Inge Denys, president of Central Florida rose to the occasion (as usual) and offered to cook for a packed house. By 1997 UGASF was financially able to host this event at the St. Petersburg Coliseum.
UGASF is a Not-for-Profit Corporation. The Corporation is organized and shall be operated for the purposes of promoting German customs and traditions by unifying member German American clubs in the State of Florida; by furthering communications and cooperation among member organizations and by representing member organizations on a State and National level. The purposes shall include but not be limited to the collection and dissemination or presentation of educational materials and programs to its members and to the general public about German music, dance, folklore, art, language and other customs and traditions. In 1992 officers and members of UGASF took part in the 35th annual German American Steuben Parade held in New York on the famous Fifth Avenue at the request of the Honorary Chairman, Willie Schoeps. Our UGASF flag had been completed prior to the parade and was dedicated at this event.
In an effort to promote and preserve German culture and language, UGASF awarded two $1000 scholarships to Florida high school students who excelled in the study of the German language and continued to study the German language at an accredited college or university. Recipients of this merit scholarship were chosen each spring by a panel of college and high school German teachers at the Florida Association of Students of German (FASG) convention.
Past presidents of our organization since it founding:
1990-1991 - John Lange of Palm Beaches
1992-1993 - Klaus Kohl of Cape Coral
1994, 1997-2003 - Hannelore Crothers of Miami
1995-1996 - Fritz Eggerts of Daytona Beach
2004 - Bud Schmitt (Palm Beach) / Uwe Kellner (Cape Coral)
2005 - Uwe Kellner (Cape Coral) / Kurt Nolden (Sun City Center)
2006-2010 - Kurt Nolden of Sun City Center
2010 – Present Kurt Freiter of Palm Beaches