Former El Dorado National Forest Service Silviculturist Evan “Bud” Veirs’ family and friends gathered to dedicate a bench in his honor at Silver Lake Thursday, July 5, 2012. A Placerville resident for 47 years, Bud passed away July 15, 2011, in Mesa, Ariz. Twenty-eight family members came from as far as Hermosilla, Mexico, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, and Santa Rosa, Oakland, Cool, Sacramento and southern California, carrying on a family tradition of family camp in the Sierra’s. Friends of Bud and Bobby Veirs from the Forest Service, Gold Country Retirement Home and Federated Church in Placerville also joined the celebration. Bobby Veirs, age 91, traveled from her recent home at Fellowship Square in Mesa, Ariz., where Bobby and Bud moved in 2011.
Bobby kicked off the dedication with stories of Bud’s early years as a Purina salesman, raising 11,000 broilers and owning a Purina feed store. Bud transferred to the Forest Service and went to work on the Hoopa Indian Reservation, helping build a corduroy road to get supplies to the valley and ferrying food and supplies across the swollen Trinity River during the flood of 1955. Chris Hayes, their eldest daughter, explained how the bench was crafted by a local manufacturer, Millwoodfurnishings.net, of reclaimed wood. A plaque placed on the bench read “Evan ‘Bud’ Veirs; May 25,1917 – July 15, 2011; Passionately Lived Life; World War II Fighter Pilot; Husband Father Forester; ‘Sit and Enjoy the Sierra Bud Loved.’”
Connie Stephens, Bud and Bobby’s second daughter, shared stories of Bud’s first year at UC Davis in 1936, and Bud’s first job at the Van Bremmer Lookout in Shasta National Forest. Bud worked six months earning money for his second semester at UC Davis, working also as a hunter patrolman validating deer tags and a fire control officer in the Goosenest District near Mt. Hebron. In November, Bud hauled Red Fir Christmas trees that were cut on Whaleback Mountain in the Shasta National Forest. Bud’s folks, Grace and Dorhman Veirs, sacrificed to buy Bud a Model A Ford when money was tight so Bud could go to work in Northern California.
Kirk Veirs, Bud and Bobby’s son, told the crowd how the family had started camping at Silver Lake as early as 1966, each decade adding more family as their children married and grandchildren were born. Bobby’s sister, Ruth Denman, and her late husband, Claire Denman, joined the Veirs camp and soon the Denman children and grandchildren began camping. Bud’s late brother, Dorhman Veirs, and his wife Audrey Veirs, came with Dorm’s daughter Sheri and her daughter to many of the yearly camp outs.
Nord Whited, who worked with Bud in the Forest Service, spoke about Bud’s work as a Silviculturist and teacher of forest management. Serving as Master of Ceremony was Bud’s granddaughter, Kathryn Hayes, a Placerville resident and doctorate student at Bud’s former college, UC Davis. Bud’s granddaughter, Alice Veirs, introduced Veirs family members and Kimberly Denman introduced Denman family members. Sheri Wantland introduced members of Bud’s brother, Dorm’s family.
The dedication was followed by a hosted lunch around the campfire circle at Kit Carson Lodge with camaraderie and fellowship, new friends and old, under the shade of the pine and fir trees on a beautiful summer day. A second bench was placed later in the week to honor Bud and wife Bobby that read “Bud & Bobby Veirs; Four Decades & Four Generations; Together at Silver Lake; Hiking Swimming Kayaking; Stories Around the Campfire; Thank You For All You Have Given Us.”
Bud’s extended family spent the week spinning stories, roasting S’mores, hiking to Lake Margaret, Thunder Mountain, and Oyster Creek, swimming in the pot holes, kayaking with the kayak Bud built, introducing the newest grandchildren to Sandy Beach, motor boating and knee boarding, cooking meals together, playing numerous games of Scrabble, identifying wildflowers, painting and art projects and having a grand time around the campfire renewing relationships. Bobby was among the last of the campers to pack and head for home, saying goodbye once again to beloved Silver Lake, and decades of memories with Bud and the forest Bud loved.
The two benches are located on the grounds of Kit Carson Lodge in the El Dorado National Forest at Silver Lake on Highway 88, 50 miles east of Jackson.