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For retired Pelican teacher, World War veteran, it has been well-lived century

By Kate Andrews 

Budd Andrews turned 100 on December 22, 2020. 

He brought håis family to Pelican Rapids in 1960, hired for the position of Adult Agricultural Instructor. Prior to this Budd had worked with Veteran farmers near Mille Lacs Lake.

Born December 22, 1920, his mother’s birthday, near Hurley, South Dakota his father decided to move the family to Minnesota where he could get his own farm. 

They settled south of Onamia, MN on Bradberry Brook, an ideal site for growing boys who built forts, skated on the brook and swam in the deep spot left by a past dam.

Budd remembers that his father raised sheep and he and his brothers also raised them for 4-H projects. They would travel first to the county fair then to the state fair in St. Paul where the early arrivals would find the best places to sleep on the livestock grounds. Budd remembers an interaction with one ram of his fathers.

“Walking out to the field   to pick up some wood for Mom’s kitchen fire I noticed the ram approaching me. He approached, stopped, then backed up for a run at me. Rather than run I stepped forward as he stepped back, then I ran up, grabbed his horns, swung myself on his back and started to beat his nose with my fists. I won that battle” 

Budd’s mother was a teacher, so she had schooled the bored boy at home. Because of this he entered school a year ahead and when his country school class was too small, the teacher placed him grade higher, not uncommon in country schools. Consequently he graduated from high school at 16. 

Eventually entering the University of Minnesota, Farm Campus, Budd was studying when news broke that Pearl Harbor had been bombed. Residents gathered to talk about what had happened. Parents called their sons to tell them not to rush into anything. At the recommendation of a friend, Budd enlisted in the Army Air Corp but had to wait for an opening in the training. His friends gave him a series of going away parties as they waited for the letter that took him into the service. 

Budd was stationed at Ridgewell Air Base in England with the 381st Bomb Group 535th Squadron. He served as Bombardier for most of his missions however also trained as a navigator. He flew 32 missions in 1944 including D-Day. 

He was hit by flack once, however as a crew mate told him after inspecting the hit “no blood, no Purple Heart (medal).” His heavy flight suit had saved him. Because he was above the action and not near others, Budd never saw a dead body—though he saw men falling out of planes that were soon to be dead. The fatality rate in the Army Air Corp was the highest of any branch of service.

After his missions he returned to the United States where he spent some time in rest and relaxation. He was dispatched to Texas, where he trained other air crews. 

Returning to Onamia he attended a St. Patricks Day Grange Hall Dance and noticed that Marguerite Bye had grown up. They were married October 10, 1946. Marguerite accompanied him back to college where he completed his bachelors degree in Agriculture.

The three Andrews children were born prior to moving to Pelican Rapids. 

While in Eastern Minnesota Budd had been a rock collector. In the Pelican area, he instead found arrowheads, chips and other Native artifacts as he walked the farm hills taking soil samples. He carefully marked each artifact as to location found so when the state archaeology teams came to this area, they would go through his collection, mostly focusing on pottery bits, to identify prime places to dig.

Many people from this area have been exposed to Budd through wild foods. He has taken pleasure in foraging and bringing home his findings to prepare. His biggest project has been the sugarbush, or maple syrup collection and preparation. Many visited the bush on Grandrud Lake, where for years he led his team of helpers in the collection and cooking down of the sweet sap of the maple tree. He used the ways that he had been taught, carving sumac spiles, using hand drills and number 10 cans to hang on the trees. On slow days there would be other activities and many learned to carve a walking stick during their visits.

Students who had classes in the school shop became familiar with the “House Car,” or camper, he restored and which now resides at the Dalton Steam show. This project was a long and challenging undertaking which is told in another book {Rolling Rats Nest or Diamond in the Rough which is available the same locations as Budd’s War} Because of his curiosity he spent house researching and was able to identify the original owner/builder and find articles and photos of the travels of this 1920s vehicle.

Budd and Marguerite were very involved with the Otter Tail County Historical Society exhibits and other volunteer activities. Marguerite taped him on blacksmithing, lumbering and farming to identify items for the exhibits.

After retiring from the school Budd made toys for his “kids,” both blood and adopted. He also created wood collages, inspired by Louise Nevelson’s work. He donated one to the OTCHS auction and it was purchased by the late Charles Beck, famed Fergus Falls painter, who recommended that Budd have a show at the community college. That was the first of a number of shows. 

The names of his works have been a huge part of their appeal. A frame of overlapping empty frames was called “Apathetic Family Portrait,” a number of diamond shapes on a very damaged board, “Diamonds in the Rough” was another title; and also a collection of wooden spoons, “Spoon Anthology.” 

His sculptures of frogs carved from woods of every letter of the alphabet, the “A,B,C’s of Frogs,” and the reconfiguring of an old wood couch and many birds, “Migration Rest Stop,” have been displayed at Pelican Rapids Library.

Budd and Marguerite moved into Pelican Valley Senior Living about two years ago where, surrounded by his art and cared for by wonderful staff, Budd naps his days away. 

His memory is going yet he still remembers many of the people in his life, he sings with staff, and sometimes for them. 

World War II airman Andrews delivered 32 blows against the German empire

A century of holidays for Budd Andrews.

A resident of Pelican Valley Senior Living, in the midst of pandemic restrictions, it will be a quiet birthday and Christmas for Budd.

A sharp contrast from December of 1943—when young Budd was waiting in the wings, amid a global conflagrations. By mid-1944, Bud and his Army Air Corps colleagues would be striking aerial blows against the short-lived Nazi empire.

From May 6 to August 8, bombardier Budd flew 32 missions over Europe. Budd and his crew hit Berlin; twice; and Munich; twice. 

Between May 6 and August 8 of 1944; his crew did their part in blasting Hitler into submission. On three separate missions, Budd and his B-17 crew bombed German research and manufacturing plants that were designing and producing the horrific V-2 rockets. Had the Luftwaffe advanced the German rocket program by even a matter of months, we might all be reading a different history. 

Bombadier Budd has been better. 

A century has taken a toll, mentally and physically. 

But the history remains. Well documented in the book “Budd’s War: No Hero, Just Doing My Job;” by Elvin E. (Budd) Andrews. 

Budd and his wife Marguerite have been Pelican Rapids treasures. 

Published here, a retrospective by their daughter, Kate, herself a historian and writer. 

—Louis Hoglund, managing editor

Pelican Rapids Press