Clarence “Bud” Smieja, 95, of Independence, died on Monday, January 31, 2022, at Gundersen Tri-County Care Center in Whitehall. Bud was born on September 2, 1926, in the Town of Burnside to Michael and Sophie (Wiench) Smieja. Bud enlisted into the United States Navy and served in WWII. He was proud to participate in the Freedom Honor Flight as a veteran, and was also a member of the local American Legion Post in Independence. Bud was united in marriage to Bernice Halama on May 19, 1952, at S.S. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church. Together the couple were blessed with 7 children. Along with working diligently in many different jobs, Bud co-owned and operated Starwood Rafters in Independence as well as co-owned Independence Lumber Company and Eleva Lumber Company until his retirement. As a devoted citizen, he served on the Independence Fire Department for 27 years and also was elected to the city council. Bud enjoyed drives around the countryside, monitoring local crop yields, and was known to put hundreds of miles on daily enjoying the beauty of area he lived. He also enjoyed gardening with Bernice, listening to Old Time music, picking hickory nuts, and was a master bread maker. Bud was a friend to all he met, and could be found chatting with the locals in the coffee shop, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The memories he shared with his family will be cherished in their hearts forever. Bud is survived by his children: Celeste (Willard) Schank of Independence, James (Ellen) of Independence, Jorgette (John) Pronschinske of Arcadia, Perry of Independence, Micky (Dondie) of Independence, Trudy Butler of Prior Lake, MN, and Ivy (Jared) Noffke of Holmen; 19 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; sisters: Theresa “Tracy” Smieja of Independence and Marie Beck of Milwaukee; and many other relatives and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; sister: Sara Waldera; brothers-in-law: Leander Waldera, Will Beck, and Bill Andre; and a sister-in-law, Eileen Halama. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. at S.S. Peter and Paul Catholic Church with Father George Thayilkuzhithottu officiating. Family and friends are welcome for visitation one hour prior to mass at church. Military Honors will be presented by the Sura-Wiersgalla Post #186. Burial will be at a later date in the church cemetery. To express condolences to his family online, please visit www.edisonfuneralhome.com.
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