After another long Montana winter, Bud passed away peacefully in his sleep on the first day of spring, March 20, 2023, at the age of 96.
Bud was born to Oscar and Edna (Berquist) Johnson in Malta on July 8, 1926, the youngest of three boys. His oldest brother Phillip, 9, died from a horse accident, and his second brother Orville (LeRoy) died of whooping cough as a toddler. When Bud was six his father died of cancer leaving just his mom Edna and himself to run the family farm. As a young man, he was confirmed at Emmanuel Lutheran Church.
Bud attended school at the Gunhus school, as a youngster walking three miles one way. He enlisted his dog to pull a sled with his books to school. This went well until a jackrabbit happened by and the pursuit was on. Bud only spoke Swedish when he entered school as that was the language spoken at home, so he had to learn English too. Bud boarded out for high school in Malta with the Hendrickson family. In the fall of his sophomore year, he quit school to go home and farm with his mother. Bud was also a member of the Bennett Lake Bachelor's Club, consisting of the neighboring bachelors. Dues were paid, and the last man standing received the full amount, it was not him.
He bought his first tractor, a John Deere B from "Shingles" Edwards of Malta Mercantile, who extended him a credit of $600. He felt he would never be able to pay it off. Bud never wanted to be in debt and appreciated full grain bins and money in the bank in anticipation of future hard times.
Bud met Rhoda at a young people's social. She worked at the Irrigation office, and Bud had owned an irrigated place east of Malta. They married on August 7, 1953, and he did carry her across the threshold. They spent their honeymoon touring Montana looking for combine parts. Three children were born, Charles, Ruth, and Raymond. Ruth married Bill Mitchell and they had two children, Katie and Kyle. Katie is married to Cody Phillips and they have a son, Cason, Bud's first great-grandson.
Bud served on the Phillips County Hospital Board, and 26 years on the Big Flat Electric board. While on Big Flat they attended several regional conferences including trips to Alaska, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Mom convinced Dad that traveling was good, and they enjoyed several bus tours and other trips around the United States.
Bud was a respectable guitar player and enjoyed playing until the Beatles came along, He lost interest in playing the guitar after that.
Bud also really enjoyed flying, owning several planes over the years. A special project was his homebuilt "Pietenpol" airplane, made of spruce wood from plans from the 1930s which took more than 5 years to complete. We were all slightly terrified during that first flight.
Bud was honest, courteous, hard-working, and cheap because of living through the Great Depression when they had nothing. He loved farming and always believed it to be "Next Year Country" and "we'll see what tomorrow brings". He was really hoping all the snow this winter would fill the reservoirs. Bud did spend a lot of time reading the Bible these last few years.
Mom passed on March 4, 2018, but now they are together again, forever. The survivors are three children, two grandchildren, and a great-grandson.
Memorials may be made to a person's choice. Wilderness Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. The funeral service was held at Wilderness Funeral Home in Malta, Montana on March 27th, with burial in the Malta Cemetery.