Roland Dean “Bud” Moellenberg was born in Yuma County on the eastern plains of Colorado and grew up on a farm near Kirk, Co. After graduating from CSU, he married Cherlyn Shively. They moved to the family farm and worked together farming and ranching for thirty-seven years. They raised four children, Dalva, Sonya, Gayle and Jon emphasizing family values, community service and the importance of education. Bud had a fondness for sports; he was on a bowling team most of his adult life, umpired local softball games, and really enjoyed a good basketball game. Bud was a lifelong active member of St John’s UCC of Idalia and the grandson of a pioneer who helped found that church. Bud was a reflective person and put considerable thought into his actions and words – he was not just a farmer of soil, he farmed ideas.
Bud began his political life when he was appointed Yuma County Commissioner by Governor Love in 1966. At the age of twenty nine, Bud began his lifelong career of community service, serving seventeen years as Yuma County Commissioner and then was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives in 1990 where he served until his death in 1996. He was particularly active in agriculture, education, transportation and local government matters at the legislature. Bud served on the House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee and was regarded as an expert on Colorado water and agriculture issues. He also served as Vice Chairman of the Education committee, and also was a member of the Transportation and Energy Committee.
Bud was very active in county and state government when serving as Yuma County Commissioner, and received the State “Distinguished Commissioner” award in 1995. He was also recognized by the Colorado Association of School Executives with the Casey Award. Among Bud’s other activities were: President of Yuma County Farm Bureau, Chairman of the Yuma County Republicans, President of his church board, Lion’s Club, instrumental in getting rural ambulances in Yuma and Washington Counties, and a member of many other associations. Bud believed in living every day to its fullest.
After his death during the 1996 Legislative session, some notable quotes were made by friends and colleagues:
“Bud was a gentleman from rural Colorado who respected his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”
“Bud enjoyed what he was doing in and out of the State House”.
“Bud knew politics but did not play politics; there was no getting even with Bud”.
A fellow representative said.” The whole time I was here, I never heard Bud say a bad word about anyone; I hope we can all learn to be more like Bud Moellenberg.”
“Bud patterned his life on enduring principles. He believed that the family was the most important institution in society and that education was vitally important for the development of the individual and culture and that public service was essential for creating a more perfect order.”
“Bud was a true friend. He was my friend, not an acquaintance and not just another colleague. He was my friend and I thank God for Bud Moellenberg.”
“Bud valued working together to achieve a common purpose. He always sought to place the good of the people above partisan politics.”
“He was a model to all of us here at the capitol. Bud made time for everyone.”
“Bud was solid and did an excellent job representing the people of Colorado.”
“Bud was known for his honesty, his easy going manner, his knowledge on many subjects, and his dry wit.”
“Bud was a man of the earth, he grew up working it and he respected it.”
“Bud had heart; he gave a piece to everyone he knew”
“Bud was part of a dynamic team with his wife Cherlyn playing a strong support role in all aspects of his life – managing the family farm, raising the children and assisting in his public roles.”
“He could take a complex problem, listen to technical testimony, and reduce it all to a human scale.”
“Bud’s idea of community was very large”.
“Bud knew a thousand people by their first name”.
A beautiful blue Spruce tree stands northwest of the Capitol which was planted by colleagues in memory of Bud in 1996. On Christmas Eve you may still see some twinkling lights on that tree, reminding us to search for our stars and to shine where ever we find ourselves planted. Bud Moellenberg left a legacy of warmth, honesty, love and a little humor to each of us.