Raymond Clair “Bud” Haley, age 84 years, eight months and three days, of Jefferson, died from complications of pneumonia on Sept. 20 at the Regency Park Nursing Home & Rehabilitation Center in Jefferson, where he had spent the last three years.
He was one of very few in the Haley lineage to live past the age of 70, and the only one in his immediate family to survive and thrive after having colon cancer. We are so thankful to Dr. Mark Taylor for giving us another 24 years with our dad.
A memorial service was held Oct. 1, opening day of bow-hunting deer season in Iowa. Pastor Julia E. F. Poulsen presided over the service at the First United Methodist Church in Jefferson.
Jefferson VFW Post 9599, Jefferson American Legion Post 11 and the United States Army Honor Guard provided full military rites following the service. Services were arranged by Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home.
Bud was born to Francis Haley and Esther (Rankin) Haley on Jan. 17, 1936, at home on the family farm in Jackson County, Minnesota — 100 years too late.
Given Bud’s demeanor, he would have been the perfect weathered cowboy in the Old West or rough and tough pioneer. He shot his own food and worked hard and by hand, like the Amish, but he would only have lasted a short while with them before getting kicked out because of his colorful language.
Bud was the sixth of nine kids and he was readily accepted into the Haley tribe, being taught every naughty trick the older siblings already knew. Even with all of their influence, Bud lived life his own way from the start. He never met a rule he couldn’t break, a boundary he couldn’t push, a line he couldn’t cross and a story he couldn’t stretch.
His fondness for authority (his own, not others) could be found in the stories he told. From riding a horse to school with his younger brother (secretly sending it back home and telling his brother it ran away) to walking to school with his older sister and two younger brothers (all of the boys telling her there were trolls under the bridge so they could cross and she couldn’t, making her cry and be late to school) to “sneaking off with the boys” to the hay mow to smoke cigarettes and chew “tobacca” ... they were Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with B and that stands for Haley BOYS.
All of the kids loved life on the farm, and Bud was no exception.
He attended Country School No. 9 in Jackson County until the family moved to Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, where he graduated from the eighth grade. He helped his parents milk cows, gather eggs, care for the horses, sell the extra eggs, milk and cream, chase the goats and do the field work. He loved every bit of it.
He was drafted into the Army in 1958 and sent to Fort Carson, Colorado, for basic training. It was here that his love for the mountains began and he met his lifelong friend, Bob Greenlee. When a sergeant asked for four soldiers with dog training experience to transfer to Fort Benning, Georgia, Bud’s hand was one of the first to go up. He really knew nothing about training dogs, but being with dogs “sounded better than any other option.”
Following dog training school, Bud, Bob and two other soldiers went by rail to New York City and were then stationed at the Nike missile base in Orangeburg, New York, one of the most crucial surface-to-air missile sites in one of the largest defensive rings in the nation. It had been designed as a last chance to intercept Soviet bombers in the event of war.
Bud and his dog, Caesar, rotated with other sentry dogs and their handlers as night guards for the site. He never talked in depth about his experience, just about his dog, who, even though he was taught to tear people apart with his teeth, was like a child to Bud. His children grew up listening to stories about Caesar, Lady & Tar, but thought he was kidding when he said the rest of his military story was “top secret.”
He returned home to Minnesota in 1960. Pfc. Haley was honorably discharged after another two years in the USAR, thankful to have served his country during non-wartime.
Bud was married to Jo Anne “Bunni” Vann in September of 1962. He worked as a well rigger in Minneapolis and he and Bunni adopted a son, Shawn, in 1969. He built a home for his family in Forest Lake, Minnesota, and in 1971, they applied to adopt a baby girl, Shannon.
After their approval, Bunni and Bud separated, and, stubborn as he was, fought to finalize the adoption on his own. Two YEARS later, the courts approved the adoption and he became the first person in the state of Minnesota to legally adopt a child as a single parent. He and Bunni divorced.
Bud, Shawn and Shannon moved to Jefferson in 1973, to live with his sister, Doris Albrecht, and her family. He went to work for Shriver Construction, first as a plumber, then as a semi driver and heavy equipment operator for 30-plus years. (Everyone knew if there was a job with a backhoe involved, Bud was the one to do it!) He worked with many friends and “a bunch of idiots” — his words, not ours. Well, not exactly his words because his would have included a swear word or two!
You can take the boy off the farm, but you can’t take the farm out of the boy, so Bud spent years helping Bob and Richard Burnell and Scott Shriver in their farming operations. Bud made Greene County his home for almost 50 years.
The years would bring him more children: Corina in 1978, Michael in 1979 and Trent Matthew in 1980.
All throughout his life, the outdoors was Bud’s second home. He liked to fish and thoroughly enjoyed taking his grandchildren to various ponds, streams and the Raccoon River. His true love was hunting deer and elk. At home in Iowa or on trips to Colorado, Montana or Wyoming, he was an avid outdoorsman with a bow, shotgun or muzzleloader in any type of weather.
He took many camping and hunting trips with his brothers and brother-in-law, nephews, sons and friends. He loved big bucks and he could not lie, although any kind of venison would do. Passing on love of the outdoors (and his sense of humor) to his children and grandchildren was one of Bud’s greatest pleasures, and perhaps his most lasting legacy.
Bud Haley (“Cowboy”) made his last inappropriate comment on Sept. 15 and passed away peacefully five days later. If you’re questioning if you may have ever met him, you didn’t — because you would DEFINITELY remember.
Anyone who knew him wanted to hang out near him, because they just knew he was going to say or do something good. On the other hand, he could have offended you at one time or another as he was world renowned for not holding back and telling it like it is, something we don’t apologize for. He was a great storyteller, always had something to say and always had to get in the last word. A bigger share of the time, he not only told the story, he WAS the story!
For years, he went nowhere without wearing his dirty, old cowboy hat. When his kids bought him a new one, he put it away for “good” and continued to wear the old one until the wires from the rim began to stick out and become a hazard to anyone close enough to talk to.
Despite his crusty exterior, cutting remarks and stubbornness, he was a loving, giving and caring person with a heart (and sometimes an attitude) as big as the Grinch. Bud deeply loved his family, especially his children and grandchildren. The deep sorrow and pain that we feel from his passing will linger on forever. Even though death took his body, God has his soul. Our minds hold the memories and our hearts keep his love. Our faith encourages us that someday, we will meet again.
He leaves behind five children he was extremely proud of: Shawn (Shelly), of Milford; Shannon (Jim) Funcke, of Jamaica; Corina (Luis) Solano Reyes, of Des Moines; Michael Haley, of Berthoud, Colo.; and Trent Matthew (Ashley Hoyle) Haley, of Altoona.
He will be greatly missed by his 13 grandchildren that he adored: Mariah (Tanner) Teague, of Newton; Wyatt Funcke, of Ankeny; William Funcke, of Jefferson; Afton and Austyn Funcke, of Jamaica; Victor “Junior” Gutierrez, Gaby Gutierrez and Jazmin Solano Gordon, of Des Moines; Jax Haley, of Berthoud, Colo.; and Gage, Gracie, Gentry and Griffynn Haley, of Altoona; and three great-grandchildren: Kenny Schaefer Jr., of Council Bluffs; and Liam and Savannah Teague, of Newton.
Also left to keep his stories alive (but damn, there won’t be any new material) are his sister Joyce Haley, of Hutchinson, Minn.; sisters-in-law Linda Haley, of Stewart, Minn., and Gail Haley, of Hutchinson; cousin Rod (Nancy) Rankin, of St. Paul, Minn.; special friends Robert and Sharene Greenlee, of Waverly; Judy Vann, of New Brighton, Minn.; Marnis Joy, Anne Butler and Arlis Bartley, all of Jefferson; and Sylvia Gordon, of Des Moines; along with many, many nieces and nephews, other relatives and friends.
He will be reuniting with his granddaughter, Amber Sauvago, and grandson, Brayan Solano Gordon; his parents, Francis and Esther; his siblings Gladys Counts, Margaret (Robert) Borseth, Doyle (Melvina) Haley, Lyle “Chub” Haley, Doris (Walter) Albrecht, Francis “June” Haley and Robert (Margaret) Haley; along with all of those “mystery people” in the Haley/Rankin lineage that his daughter has been chasing for the past four years.