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Every town has a “Mr. Bud”

He was one of the first people I met when I moved to Donalsonville.  Portions of the old Planters Products plant that Beall Peanut Company had bought was older than my father.  Some of the facility dated back to 1909.  That was what brought me to Georgia.   

Some of the plant was held together with bailing wire and welding beads on top of welding beads.  Some parts were no longer available for purchase and had to be custom made. 

Bud Youmans, the owner of Youmans’ Machine Shop, was essential to the continued operation of that old shelling plant.  He kept it running until we could construct a new and modern plant.  I memorized his number before there was speed dial or cell phones.

Bud passed away this week at the age of 94.  What a long and full life he had.   He married Lila Mae Spooner and they had five children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  Bud and Lila came from founding families of Seminole County.  They both took that legacy and left the community an even better place when they were gone.

Bud was a lifelong Presbyterian.  He sat in the same pew for as long as I have attended the same church.  As his health declined, he moved to the pew behind the organ.  From that view he would critique my music every week.  “You played good” was his most often comment.

Bud was a Marine and served in World War II.   He was part of a group of older men that took me under their wing when I moved to Donalsonville.  Though I never served in the military I heard their stories often enough that I could tell them myself. 

These men treated me as their equal when I was still a young man.   They shared the early days of Seminole County, what life was like growing up in the 30’s and 40’s.  They supported me when I entered politics and gave me plenty of free advice.

Several from this group were Presbyterians and faithfully met with their friends and spouses every Friday at Lois’ Cafeteria.  At some point, the group asked Mary Lou and me to join them.  They were all older than my own parents.  What a great gift those times were.

Bud had a deep and unwavering faith.  He quietly helped so many people in the community.  It was said at his funeral that he had worked on almost every steeple in town.  He would never take a penny for any of that work. 

Bud’s lifelong friend, J.B. Clarke once published a book of quotes.   One of those quotes was attributed to Bud Youmans and said simply “Work.  Pray.  Worship.  Give.”  That pretty much summed up the way Bud lived.   

He was one of the hardest workers I have ever known and kept going to the shop until he was 90.    

Bud often prayed in church.  He was a great example to me of how a man of quiet faith can leave a legacy to those he does not even know are watching him.  Those watching are not always children. 

As for worship, if the church was open he was there.  He cooked for church dinners and breakfasts.   He was a longtime Sunday School Superintendent.  He served in many capacities over his long life.

Give.  Sometimes that does not just mean money, though Bud did his part there too.  Bud gave his time to so many people.  He gave his time to his lifelong friends.  He gave his time to those needier than he.  He even gave his time to a green 21 year old who had moved to town to run an old peanut mill. 

Bainbridge, Cairo, Blakely, and Colquitt all have men like Bud Youmans.  They are part of the fabric of our lives.  They always have a smile and seem glad to see you.   They do more than their part and never ask for recognition. 

It was said that Bud Youmans wanted only to be known as a good man.  He was that and so much more.  There are not many left from Bud’s generation.  If you have a “Mr. Bud” in your community or in your life, now is the time to tell them thank you.