“Frugal” IA Farmer Leaves $3-Million to Churches

An elderly southwest Iowa bachelor farmer who is remembered as quiet and frugal left behind millions of dollars in cash and property in his will to benefit more than a dozen churches in the region.


Edwin “Bud” Skalla of rural Shelby County died in November at age 92. The conservator of Skalla’s estate, Ray Chapman, says there’s more than two-million dollars in cash assets and more than 11-hundred acres of land in Harrison and Shelby counties.   In particular, St. Mary Our Lady of Fatima Parish in Portsmouth will inherit a 292-farm which was appraised at almost three-million dollars.

He says Skalla didn’t come from a wealthy family and built most of his assets in investments. Skalla was never married and didn’t have any children, though he is survived by two sisters. Father John Dorton, of St. Mary’s in Portsmouth, read from a letter written by Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines, saying how the Catholic communities are “enormously grateful” to Skalla for his “extraordinarily generous remembrance of the parishes in his will.”

Skalla spent all but 13 years of his life on his farm southeast of Portsmouth before moving to Elm Crest Retirement Community in Harlan.