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Denison St. Rose of Lima receives bequest

By KATIE LEFEBVRE, Globe staff reporter
(Email Katie)

Bud Skalla’s legacy will live on through the millions he left to southwest Iowa churches, including St. Rose of Lima Church in Denison.

Skalla, a farmer in Portsmouth, Iowa, died on Nov. 26, 2013, at 92. He left cash assets and farmland that could total up to $10 million, with the majority going to 13 churches.

He was a native of Portsmouth, farmed in Shelby County and was a parishioner at St. Mary Church in Portsmouth.

Father Paul Kelly, pastor at St. Rose of Lima, noted the Denison parish is listed in Skalla’s will. The money has not been distributed yet.

“It has been indicated by the executors it (the amount) will be in the area of about $700,000,” said the priest. “I did not know the man and I do not know what his connection (to the parish) was.”

St. Rose of Lima is among 13 parishes in southwest Iowa to be named in the will and the only parish in the Diocese of Sioux City.

“We are very pleased and very grateful for his generosity,” said Father Kelly. “It is something completely unexpected and we hope to set it (the money) aside for a special project and not just ordinary expenses – something extraordinary for us to honor the memory of this man.”

He added the discussion about how to spend the money will be brought up with the finance council. There is a possibility the monies will go towards improving the St. Rose of Lima facilities.

“We are very grateful for this man,” said Father Kelly. “It is a great witness to all of us as we plan our estates. He did it in an extremely generous way – he was a bachelor and basically left his entire estate to charity. It is a good reminder to all of us to try to be charitable as we make up our wills and do something constructive. Even a small amount is very helpful.”

Father Kelly added that giving to organizations that are important to individuals will help them continue “after we die. His (Skalla’s) faith and church must have been very important to him in his life.”

“People have the right to leave their money to whomever they would like to,” said Terri Curry of Morningside College in Sioux City, who is distantly related to Skalla on her grandfather’s side. “If that is who he decided to leave it to, they most certainly must have been an area that he had a great love or passion for.”

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