Vernon H. “Bud” Bahr, age 92, of Decorah, Iowa, died on Feb. 13, 2017, at Aase
Haugen Senior Services in Decorah.
Funeral Services were Feb. 18, 2017, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah,
with Pastor Amy (Zalk) Larson ‘96 officiating. Burial was in Phelps Cemetery in
Decorah, with Full Military Honors by Decorah’s Veterans and Military Organizations,
and U.S. Army personnel.
Visitation was Feb. 17 at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah.
Vernon Herbert “Bud” Bahr was born May 7, 1924, in Appleton, Wis., the son of Herbert
Gustav and Mary Ida (Zimdars) Bahr. His father was a cheese maker and owned small
factories in Mosling, Argonne, and Benson Corners, Wis. Bud attended rural schools and
had his junior and senior years at Iola High School, graduating in 1942. He enrolled at the
University of Wisconsin in Madison, only to be called home after six weeks, to take over
the work in the cheese factory due to his father becoming ill with tuberculosis.
He was deferred from military service during World War II until his dad was able to
come home and then was drafted into the Army. His troop ship was on the way to Japan
when peace was declared and the ship was rerouted to Honolulu, Hawaii, where he
served in the Military Police Department offices. After discharge in 1946, he enrolled at
Luther College in Jan. 1947. While at Luther he played baseball as a shortstop and third
Bud enjoyed his student years, especially Biology, tree and flower identification and bird
watching. He was awarded the Junior Bickle Scholarship, and was named in Who’s Who
in American Colleges. After graduation in 1950 he attended the University of Michigan
in Ann Arbor where he received a Master's Degree in Zoology in 1951.
In 1951, Luther College offered him a position in the Biology Department, then a three-
man department, where he taught Biology, Botany and Labs. It was at Luther where he
met Donna (Haugen) Bahr ‘53 from Decorah. After she graduated in May 1953, they
were married on Aug. 15, 1953, at First Lutheran Church in Decorah, and became the
proud parents of four children: Stephen, Jan, Michelle and Jackie.
They began their married life together living in Lansing, Iowa, where he taught in the
high school and coached baseball and basketball. Bud had many interests which led him
to employment with product control at Oscar Mayer in Davenport but the love of
Decorah kept drawing them back. In 1961 they returned to Decorah and teaching. His
second career was in sales, achieving great success at Larson-Juhl (custom picture
framing), until his retirement in 1985.
In retirement, Bud began extensive genealogy research taking him to Salt Lake City for
research and traveling to the former Pomerania area in Europe. He went on the Audubon
annual bird counts, and followed many teams, especially the Iowa Hawkeyes, Green Bay
Packers and the Chicago Cubs.
Bud was a modest, quiet and kind man who loved his wife and family above all else. He
was never happier than when they all gathered for birthdays, Christmas, and other special
occasions. Following a heart attack, he spent his last months at Aase Haugen Senior
Services, as his body and mind declined. He died there on Feb. 13, 2017, at the age of 92.
Bud is survived by his wife of 63 years, Donna (Haugen) Bahr ‘53; his four children:
Stephen (Le) Bahr of Maple Grove, Minn., Jan (Erling) Larson of St. Augustine, Fla.,
Michelle Ruen of Brainerd, Minn., and Jackie (Loren) Carlson of Edina, Minn.; seven
grandchildren: Dane (Madeline) Bahr, Jon (Kelly) Bahr; Richard, Erica and Michael
Ruen; Kaitlin and Nathaniel Carlson; two great grand-children, Faith Furst and Finn
Bahr; one brother, Rod (Grace) Bahr of Menominee, Wis.; two sisters Nadine (David)
Ross of Burlington, N.C., and Maureen Foster of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; one sister-in-law,
Judy (Grant) Nelson of Los Angeles; four brothers-in- law: Bob Koehler of Hinsdale, Ill.,
Tom Haugen ’61 (Lola (Pederson) Haugen ‘62) of Decorah, Jerry Haugen ‘62 (Sally) of
Minnetonka, Minn., and David Haugen ‘64 (Joan) of Sioux Falls, S.D.; and by many
nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one sister, Ruth Koehler; and his father- and
mother-in- law, Thomas and Evelyn Haugen.
Memorials can be given to Luther College Biology Department, % Development Office,
700 College Drive, Decorah, IA 52101, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 701 Iowa
Ave., Decorah, IA 52101 or Aase Haugen Senior Services, 4 Ohio Street, Decorah, IA