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Town stunned after farmer's funeral

Funeral Surprise Has Western Iowa Buzzing

KCCI reports that much of Western Iowa has been buzzing ever since Edwin 'Bud' Skalla was laid to rest.

The frugal farmer never married, and most people who knew him admitted that he wasn't exactly a 'people person.' The 92-year-old was quite a lone wolf, and Skalla's executor says Skalla wouldn't even sit with him to have a cup of coffee.

He's been described as a 'quirky' guy who never dressed lavishly and was basically a total mystery.

After his death, his priest (who also didn't know him so well) got a call. 'You're going to be on the receiving end of a very large bequest,' Father John Dorton said. 'How big is big?' he wondered.

A few days later, he got his answer: $3 million worth of farmland left to his parish.

'I've been a priest 43 years and I've never seen one like this,' Dorton said.

Then, surprises started to pop up everywhere. Break out a calculator and you're talking about a bequest that's in the neighborhood of about $10 million. He left that money to churches in 13 different towns, and each parish could be looking at a bequeath of $500,000.

In life, Bud Skalla had a reputation. In death, he earned a new one ... while teaching a lesson. Sometimes, you can't judge a book by its cover.

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karij42 February 12 2014 at 5:08 PM

Maybe the church was where he found some semblance of family and belonging. I applaud the man for giving back to God what he couldn't use anymore. Being a farmer, you're not in control
of a lot of thing and only he knew how many times his prayers were answered when he farmed.
The news talks a lot about food shortages. We should pray that the church will do what God wants with its land gift and in doing so will bless in many more ways than first thought by the farmer who left this gift. Bless the mans family and help the Catholic church

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jgrueben February 12 2014 at 9:19 AM


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skitzlpk February 12 2014 at 9:29 AM

Who's to say this man wasn't genuinely happy living life alone within the context of what he considered important? As screwed up & confusing as society is pulling in a hundred different directions, it seems as though he chose to live within his own type of peaceful setting with a daily routine of simply running his farm & planning for his future security. IMO, if more people did this, society in general would benefit as a whole through "stability" & the absurdness so many wish to live their lives by wouldn't become a liability to those who hold their nose to the grindstone. The "absurdness" I mention is more than apparent from those who demand a return from life in general but dedicate little to the world they live in. I think this guy had it right. He worked hard, was self sufficient & asked nothing of the world in return. RIP sir, many around you could learn a genuine lesson of where prosperity comes from..

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Michelle CD February 12 2014 at 3:33 PM

Reminds me of the time down in Ft Myers, Fl, when an old boy walked into a cadillac dealership, dressed in overals old shirt and farmers well worn boots. He was looking at a brand new caddy on the show room floor. Vice president of the dealership walked out to him, and asked him why he was wasting his time, he couldn't afford it, and more or less asked him to leave. He did. And hour and a half later, he pulled up across the front of the display room and entrance to the Caddy dealership in a brand New Lincoln Towncar, honked the horn and waved the title to the new Lincoln at the vice president of the caddy dealership. Never judge a person by their appearance, not everyone goes about showing off in 500 plus dollar suits, rolex watches, etc, only the greedy do that.

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namaste.chi February 12 2014 at 10:12 AM

Everyone has a heart and a soul. Sometimes, we're afraid to share it with others and that is expressed in different ways. Some of us withdraw. Some of us are abrasive. Some of us are guarded or negative or whatever. Others only see these defense mechanisms in us and we only see defense mechanisms in them. None of these things reveal who we REALLY are.

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ChisnaAlaska namaste.chi February 12 2014 at 10:21 AM

Well said....

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grunt85 February 12 2014 at 9:32 AM

Wondeful gesture, sir. Rest in peace.

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Marilyn Mitchem February 12 2014 at 3:06 PM

Edwin "Bud" Skalla
JANUARY 7, 1921 - NOVEMBER 26, 2013
Edwin Joseph Skalla was born on January 7, 1921, to Jacob and Elizabeth (Viscarious) Skalla on the family farm near Portsmouth, Iowa. He was baptized, confirmed, and remained a life-long member of St. Mary Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Portsmouth. He attended St. Mary’s Catholic School.
He was a hard working farmer who was totally devoted to his land. He spent his life living and farming. Bud never married but was extremely dedicated to his family, especially his mother. He always saw to it that she was well taken care of until her death in 1984.
Bud was a collector of antiques and small tractors. He loved going to farm sales and often came home with John Deere or Case IH equipment.
Bud died on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at Myrtue Medical Center in Harlan, Iowa, having attained the age of ninety-two years, ten months, and nineteen days. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers: LaVere, Al, Vincent, and Robert; and sister Helen.
He is survived by his sisters Sylvia Keppford of San Jacinto, California and Roseann Brummer of Logan, Iowa; sister-in-law Vi Skalla of Portsmouth, Iowa; many nieces and nephews; other family members and friends.
Rev. John Dorton and Rev. Michael Berner concelebrated the 10:30 AM Mass of Christian Burial on Saturday, November 30, 2013 at St. Mary Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church in Portsmouth, Iowa. Music was provided by Jodi Wingert and St. Mary’s Choir. Serving as casket bearers were Robert Huebner, Ron Huebner, William Brummer, Ron Brummer, Dean Mikels, Duane McDonald, and Scott Gau. Interment was held at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Portsmouth.


Born: January 7, 1921
Death: November 26, 2013

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korthalspaul February 12 2014 at 9:44 AM

This IS Iowa...
"There's nothing halfway
About the Iowa way to treat you
When we treat you
Which we may not do at all.

We'll give you our shirt
And a back to go with it
If your crops should happen to die

So what the heck, you're welcome
Glad to have you with us
Even though we may not ever mention it again
You really ought to give Iowa a try." ~The Music Man

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1 reply
penstate79 korthalspaul February 12 2014 at 9:54 AM

Hear that millie?

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kimcrdr February 12 2014 at 2:57 PM

Kudos to this man, sad noone will be able to tell him that, may he RIP!

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chefjohnp February 12 2014 at 2:49 PM

Goes to show you, you can't judge a book by it's cover.

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