Vernon H. “Bud” Bahr

Wednesday, February 15, 2017 2:42 pm

Vernon H. “Bud” Bahr, 92, of Decorah, died Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, at Aase Haugen Senior Services in Decorah. Funeral services are at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah, with Pastor Amy Larson officiating. Burial is in Phelps Cemetery in Decorah, with full military honors by Decorah’s veterans and military organizations, and U.S. Army personnel. Visitation is from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17, at Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah, and Saturday beginning at 1 p.m., one hour before the service, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be given to Luther College Biology Department, c/o 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 52101. Fjelstul Funeral Home in Decorah is serving the family. Online condolences may be made at

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 January, 1947. While at Luther he played baseball as a shortstop and third baseman. 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 from Decorah. After she graduated in May 1953, they were married 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, 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.

Bud is survived by his wife of 63 years, Donna; 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, Calif.; four brothers-in-law: Bob Koehler of Hinsdale, Ill., Tom (Lola) Haugen of Decorah, Jerry (Sally) Haugen of Minnetonka, Minn. and David (Joan) Haugen 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.

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