Clair "Bud" Drayer

Clair "Bud" Drayer, age 94, died peacefully with family at his side in Watertown, SD, on Tuesday, October 10, 2023. 

   A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, November 4, 2023, at 11:00 AM at the Doland United Methodist Church with a visitation to be held from 9-11 AM. Burial will follow at the Doland Cemetery. A lunch will be held at the Bottoms Up Event Room in Doland following the burial.

   “The Best Father Ever” – as noted by his children, was Clair Milford “Bud” Drayer.

   “Bud” as he was known to everyone, was born in Doland, South Dakota, on November 30, 1928, to Milford and Mamie Drayer. He joined a sister and was an older brother to his three younger brothers. He was baptized in the Doland Lutheran Church.

   He was destined to be a farmer. In fact, according to his Aunt Helen, he was farming at the age of 8!!

   Bud was very dedicated to his chosen profession. He worked long hours both crop farming and caring for his livestock. His children called him an “Old McDonald” farmer – he did so much. He also spent time serving on the board of directors for both the Farmers Union Cooperative and his local township.

   On October 8, 1950, Bud married his love for life, Verlyn Shult. Their family grew to 6 in the years following – Stephanie, Nancy, Debra, and Gregory. Bud was extremely proud of his family – setting an example of dedication, hard work, and perseverance. He protected them through good and challenging times, always assuring that the family prevails!

   After retiring and selling his home farm, he continued to work on neighbors’ farms for a few years. Unable to resist the call of the land – he started gardening . . . just a small plot which grew every year into a magnificent sea of fresh vegetables for all to enjoy!

   Bud’s faith was very strong. He was an active member of the United Methodist Church in Doland, serving on its board of directors for many years as well as a member of the Methodist Men both in Doland and Watertown. Recently he was given the honor of being the longest living member of the Doland church – 81 years!

   When Verlyn was admitted to Jenkins Home in Watertown, Bud moved into an apartment across the street from her to be closer and be able to visit her. He would spend many hours daily at Jenkins not only visiting with Verlyn, but also with the many residents, families, friends, and staff. He was a quiet, loving, dedicated man with a kind, generous, soft heart. After Verlyn’s death in 2020, his days were spent visiting with the many friends he had come to know. Recently he moved into Edgewood Assisted Living in Watertown, which would become his final home. He died peacefully surrounded by family and friends on October 10, 2023.

   Bud is preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Verlyn, parents Mamie and Milford Drayer, sister Elaine (Herron) Smith, and brother Fred (Norma) Drayer, sisters-in-law Judine Drayer, Ardyce (Arnie) Labrie, Marilyn (Bob) Larson, brother-in-law Larry Shult, and parents-in-law Raymond and Alice Shult.

   His family will cherish the many fond memories he has left for them; his children – Stephanie (Tim) Courington, Nancy (Randy) Ufken, Debra (Ernie) Waldner, and Gregory (Tammy) Drayer; his grandchildren – Karen, Max, Chase, Erik, Emily, Andrew, Alan, John, Christopher, Christina, and Matthew; step-grandchildren – Ryan, Jennifer, and Eric; 12 great grandchildren and 8 step-great grandchildren; brothers- John and Wayne (Carol) and their families, the families of Elaine and Fred, and sisters-in-law Lenora Shult and Edna Shult.

   “His integrity forever lives with them all!”

   Funeral arrangements are with the Furness Funeral Home in Clark where there is an online registry at