Farmer surprises community by leaving them $10 million

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PORTSMOUTH, IA – Iowa farmer Bud Skalla was not a people person.

“You could say, ‘Let’s go to Mickles and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee,’ but he wouldn’t do that,” friend Raymond Chipman says.

But after his death, members of his community were shocked to learn what he had left behind for all of them, a whopping $10 million, in the form of hundreds of acres of farmland.

“I’ve been a priest 42 years and I’ve never seen one like this,” his priest, Father John Dorton says.

Father John first learned of the impressive gift at the funeral, when Bud’s executor pulled him aside. “He said you’re going to be on the receiving end of a very large bequest.”

But nothing could have prepared him for just how big that gift would be. The gift, granted to churches in 13 different towns, leaves each church with about $500,000. That’s four times some of their annual budgets.

“Everybody’s going to benefit in the whole town whether they are a member of the parish or not,” friend Glenn Wingert says.

In life, unassuming and frugal Bud Skalla was known for keeping to himself. But in death, he’s showing his community just how much they meant to him through all those quiet years.