'Tightwad' Iowa Farmer Leaves $10M to Churches
Bud Skalla amassed 1,200 acres over his life
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 13, 2014 6:11 PM CST
File photo   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

(Newser) – Among the words and phrases used to describe 92-year-old Iowa farmer Bud Skalla in stories after his death in November: "tightwad," "frugal," "loner," "standoffish," "not a people person," ... you get the picture. Which is why it came as a surprise to seemingly everyone in western Iowa when Skalla left an estimated $10 million to local churches, reports KCCI-TV via Yahoo. Skalla, who never married, left instructions that the 1,200 acres of land he had amassed over the years be auctioned off and the money divvied up among 13 parishes, reports CNN.

“He must have had inside of him a very generous heart,” a local priest tells the Des Moines Register. “But he certainly had a crusty exterior and hid it quite well from most people.” The one not-so-cheery part of the story is that Skalla left not a cent to his two sisters. “I think that he got so much that he just didn’t trust anybody,” says one. "It’s just too bad because with so much money he could’ve really had a good life." Click to read about a teacher in South Carolina who quietly built a fortune of $8 million and willed it to charity.

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Feb 15, 2014 4:29 AM CST
Farming is a business. But it sure is not treated like one in Congress. But with the passing of the current farm bill it's nothing but a big government handout! Farmers made more in the last year than they have in 40 years. The best word for it is Farmfare. Farm Welfare. There are several very powerfull senators who keep the farm welfare alive. Mostly of course from the farm states. Why should we pay farmers not to farm? It's like a retirement plan. Another SS plan.
Feb 14, 2014 5:04 PM CST
That money is taxpayer's money which he got from the gobernment to NOT farm his land. Go back to the treasury.
Feb 14, 2014 3:59 PM CST
1. The man's money, the man's business. The man gave it to the parishes. We've taken God, our creator, out of all aspects of American society and believe it or not, the majority of the American public has faith in their God. When is the last time you heard Tom Brokaw or any of the other "main media" liberal/ socialistic talking heads use God in their newscasts and/or defer to or otherwise confess to a higher authority? Well, now that that particular liberal has confessed to his cancer, this writer is sure that he has gained a ton of faith and humility. General George Patton, whey asked about religion in the ranks said: "I've never met an atheist in a foxhole." 2. For the liberal bleeding heart socialists that believe in redistribution and want to tell others what to do with their hard earned savings, this writer says, live like a pauper, amass a fortune, and then put your money where your mouth is. Give it to cancer research, etc. Those with all of the advice probably don't have the self-discipline to save a dime. 3. So he should save all of his life and give it to his sisters? If they have no savings by now, they would only blow it. They don't need it if they lived a frugal life, eh? 4. For those that recommend giving to "charities" , before you send or commit money to any charity, check one of their financial statements. The top dogs pull down six figure salaries, have over staffed offices, etc. Further, most end up passing along only 50% or 60% of the donated funds to their identified target causes. For example, a former minority retired basketball player in MI started a non-for-profit and it was a poster child for many scams. He was living the good life, traveling all around the world, attending benefits, etc. while only about 15% of the donations ended up helping those targeted in the articles of organization of his charity.