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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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aristars February 12 2014 at 11:56 AM

Rest in Peace Edwin , people can be so judgmental, and they can be so hard on someone they do not make any effort to know , it's ignorance and cruelty. they judged him by the way he dressed, they judged by being wise in spending his money they will have!! frugal? for not wasting his money in all kind of useless ways as some of today's people do? I feel sad for him for not having a family to care for him, so he might not have lived a better social life. nobody cared enough to get close enough to help him have a family.

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Nancy aristars February 12 2014 at 12:10 PM

Maybe he enjoyed his privacy.

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TIM aristars February 12 2014 at 12:31 PM

If you no anybody like him, it is not that people did not try and be friends with him or care for him. I have an uncle that is not a biological uncle but he has never been married but has had a girlfriend for years. He paid her house off and he is also very frugal. He smells like deisel fuel all the time and shop at the goodwill for clothes. He is one of the smartest guys I have ever known and he is 84 years old and has a lot of land including a nice size chunk in one of the most expensive places to have land in the United States. The older he gets, the more withdrawn he gets from people and he has gotten grouchy in his older years. I have tried to help him over the past 8 or 10 years and he refuses any help. I used to help him do things around one of his farms and he appreciated it.One farm which is just under 50 acres is worth probably $20 million or more and he has at least 4 or 5 other places. It is the way he chooses to live as there is an old house out front of his property that could be an awesome house but he chooses to live in an old shanny farther back on the property. He leases out the other farms and makes moeny. These old people were raised in a different time than people today as he lived through the great depression as a young child and it has always stuck with him. He does not trust the gov't and lately, he has gotten to not trust anyone. He will die a lonely old man but there is nothing that can be done about it. I talked to him a few weeks ago to tell him my father has stage 4 cancer and he said he would call him but he still has not called him. They were best friend for decades and they drifted apart the older they got. He used to tell some people that I was his son but he could be very embarrasing when we would go out to eat. He would complain that a piece of pie cost a couple of dollars and tell the waitress he could buy a whole pie for that price. He has a great heart but it is just the way people can be. People make it sound like this old guy was mistreated or ignored but no one except for a few people know what he was all about. He ckoose a great place toleave his land. There was no mention about any cash or stocks he may have had. I am sure he had some kind of family like cousins, neices, nephews and if not, that is sad but let the guy rest in peace and don't critizice anyone for not helping him as he maybe just liked being alone so he could get his farming done done every year. I am sure at some point he did have some young guys working for him bailing hay or working around the farm. Old guys like that work till they die as long as they are able to. My uncle still works but when my cousins allmoved to different places, it is not so easy to get down to see him when you may drive 100 miles each way only to find out he is not home, he is busy, or will run you off. People should never criticize others when they do not know the facts.

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queencelt February 12 2014 at 3:39 PM

You should NEVER judge a book by its cover. I'll never forget the time I was taking my son to compete in a horse show, and realized I had forgotten my sunglasses. My son, daughter and I (all dressed in clothing appropriate for being around horses in muddy fields) went to a Sunglass Hut store at the mall. I thought I could just drop in and buy the first sunglasses I saw, but the staff completely ignored me, while pandering to men who were "just looking." I was a highly motivated buyer, but they lost a good sale that day due to their bigotry.

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jagian34 February 12 2014 at 7:43 PM

I guess you cannot tell a book by its cover.

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al12exb February 12 2014 at 8:24 AM


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jim February 12 2014 at 8:27 AM

I'm sure that there are quite a few people in all of these communities that this money will help. Farmers don't get enough credit for the hard work that they do, & please don't let me forget all of the others who work hard in their communities also. Most rural places don't have many jobs or even good pay for what they do, maybe this will give them some relief to.

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smesnyrwj February 12 2014 at 8:28 AM

Pizzaman is correct. I own over 1200 acres and it is taxed on an ag-based value not residential or commercial values. That is beside the point. Taxing entities do not need more money to waste.

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sfedhgwy smesnyrwj February 12 2014 at 9:02 AM

the government needs the money to pay for your crop insurance.

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dendav1955 sfedhgwy February 12 2014 at 9:40 AM

the government needs to gey out of everyones business

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montes February 12 2014 at 7:14 PM

He still had $10mil BECAUSE he stayed away from women...

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Chris February 12 2014 at 8:31 AM

Amen, brother!

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MrFLHnOKC February 12 2014 at 7:11 PM

A very gracious MAN indeed...We need more people like him~!

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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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