'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

(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.

File photo
File photo   (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
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