Meeting Les Gugel.
You may know Les from his involvement as the Co-Founder of Beyond Blind InsLes Gugel3titute [www.beyondblindinstitute.org.] Les is married to Beyond Blind’s Founder, Joyce Gugel, who herself is legally blind and we covered in our Human interest story several years ago.
Les was raised on a farm in Aberdeen, South Dakota. His family spoke German with very little
English in the house. His parents were strong supporters of their children, determined they would succeed at anything they put their minds and efforts to. South Dakota in the summertime is about 110˚ degrees, but in the winter time it was 34˚, with snow banks all around the house. Les and his siblings busied themselves with chores like milking cows, true farm work; and playing musical instruments.
There was always music in the house: Les practiced the accordion, his Mom played the banjo, Dad played the violin or fiddle. They would gather to attend the hoedowns around town and dances as children. It was this upbringing and musical involvements that attracted an agent and Les who’s name changed to Barney began his venture by hitting the road as a musician when he was 18 years of age.
With over a thirty-year career, Les had the privilege of meeting with Myron Floren of the Lawrence Welk Show, and playing back-up for people like Leroy Van Dyke of the Grand Ole Opry. He produced two albums and was inducted into the Musician’s Hall of Fame and was featured on Bill Board Magazine along with Don Ho. Years were spent entertaining and running with the New York Yankees, Sparky Lyal, and Greg Nettles amongst many.
He played the Hammond Organ for 25yrs but played accordion the longest in many Clubs and bands. Les quit entertaining about 30 years ago for approximately five years and then ran into a few accordionists who knew of him from accordion clubs from the past. So back into the musical world he came. Les continues to play a lot of events and assisted living places for their enjoyment.
Les is also an auctioneer, he works in this way to raffle and raise funds with items given as
donation to the Beyond Blind Institute, other foundations and charities; and wherever an auctioneer is needed.
He is also an Inventor and created items you may use today: The Tool Topper, the Cordless, Pneumatic, & Hydraulic Hacksaw also the Z-attachment that’s used on ride-around mowers.
Les and Joyce Gugel have 29yr old twin girls presently living in Sarasota.
Click here to see Les in action playing his accordion.