Louis ‘Bud’ Billmyer, 93, Cresco

--obit-billmyerIt is Jan. 18, 2010. I am 89 and I am writing my own obituary.

I was introduced to Planet Earth and I took my first breath of air Oct. 18, 1920 at 8:10 p.m. in a farmhouse one-half mile east of Saratoga, Iowa. My parents were “Louis” and “Alma” Billmyer. I was their second son.
As a young man, I soon realized that every human on Earth is a visitor and issued a temporary visa. My Earth visa expired on May 8, 2014 at 11 a.m. My life on Earth has been a wonderful and rewarding experience. Following is a synopsis of my life between those dates.

Shortly after I was born, my dad rented a farm about five miles north of Cresco, Iowa. He moved his family and machinery there March 1, 1921. Farms in those days had no electricity or running water. They had outdoor toilets and a bucket in every bedroom. All they had was wood and coal for heat. Horses did all the fieldwork and got us to town for a few supplies. Those years of learning how to sustain life and be happy with very little, I never forgot.

Because of a drought and depression in the early 1930s, my dad could not pay the farm rent. So he sold all the equipment and moved to Cresco in 1931. The next year when I was 12, I got my first job in Cresco at Meyers Nursery for five cents an hour. When I started high school, I worked for my brother Leo at 10 cents an hour in his gas station and car/truck repair shop. By the time I was a senior I needed more money so I took another job for a body shop repairing and painting wrecked cars. I graduated and joined the Navy. I am a survivor of the Pearl Harbor attack Dec. 7, 1941.
After 47 continuous months at sea in the Pacific Theatre, I made it back to the United States and was united in marriage in Miami, Oct. 9, 1944 to Mary Ann Schemmel, my high school sweetheart. I returned to the Pacific Theatre to finish my six-year hitch in the Navy. We settled down in Cresco.

I purchased a lot on Gillette Avenue and started building a house (which took 17 years to complete). My first job after the military was with Sears Robeck & Co. After a year, I went to work for Horn Furniture. Two years after I started with Horn, Loren Meyer purchased the store. After working for him for five years, my brother Leo and I, as 50/50 partners, purchased the store Jan. 1, 1954. We called it Billmyer Furniture. My son Allyn, and his wife Diane, purchased Leo’s share in 1975. Mary Ann and I retired in 1982, after we sold our share to Allyn and Diane.

During those 35 years in the store I was involved in many things: the Toast Masters Club, the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Boy Scouts, lay ministry, plus many more. In addition, George Skoda and I bought land in 1967 in Cresco and built a 34-unit mobile home court called Shady Oaks. I operated it for 37 years, even after I retired from the furniture store.
I also enjoyed camping, traveling, square dancing, oil painting, Historical Society, fixing things in my shop and, most of all, helping my family and friends. Best of all, I was blessed with the most wonderful wife any man could ever have. We have six wonderful children: Steven, Allyn, Jim, Becky, Mark and Susan. They have given us 21 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren. I have enjoyed every minute of my time on planet earth.

I am survived by my sister, (Thelma), who is a nun known as Sister Claire; my wonderful wife, Mary Ann; and all my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren mentioned above. I was preceded in death by my dad, Louis, and my mother, Alma; my brother Leo; my granddaughter, Christine; and great-granddaughter, Daisy.

I always felt there are no strangers on this planet, just friends who I have not met. God Bless and enjoy your stay on Planet Earth!

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 15, 2014 at Notre Dame Catholic Church in Cresco. Burial will take place in Calvary Cemetery, Cresco. Visitation will be held 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at the Hindt-Hudek Funeral Home, 404 North Elm Street, Cresco, with a scripture service to follow. The visitation will continue an hour prior to the service at the church.

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