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Frugal farmer plans big surprise for his own funeral, nearby community

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PORTSMOUTH, Iowa (CNN) – A quiet, frugal farmer kept to himself most of his life but surprised his community at his funeral.

If you ask anyone, they’ll confess 92-year-old Bud Skalla was not a people person.

The quirky man who would climb on his barn to paint his name was described as a loner and a man who kept to himself.

There were plenty of open pews minutes before Bud’s funeral when his executor pulled the priest aside.

Father John Dorton soon learned that Bud had left his church 292 acres of prime farmland.

According to KCCI, that property is worth about $3 million.

Dorton said, “I’ve been a priest 42 years and I’ve never seen one like this.”

However, Bud was just getting started.

St. Mary’s in Panama, St. Joseph’s in Earling, St. Bonaface in Westphalia and St. Peter’s in Defiance were all listed to receive property.

In all, the 92-year-old frugal farmer left $10 million worth of land to churches in 13 different towns.

Each church is expected to receive about $500,000 after the property is auctioned off.

In death, friends say Bud Skalla earned a new reputation while teaching others a lesson.