Frank Stern was a no nonsense businessman with the stated goal of making as much money as possible. This in and of itself sounds pretty ordinary for the business world. However, it was Mr. Stern’s reasoning for making that money which set him apart from other entrepreneurs. You see, the more money Frank made, the more he would be able to leave behind for the benefit of his community. Frank was low-key, frugal, and a great investor who wasn’t about to spend an extra dime that could be put to better use. He followed this pattern even if it meant driving miles out of his way to avoid the dreaded toll bridge in town! Frank and his thrifty ways resulted in a great windfall for his community.
No one would mistake today’s Surprise Millionaire, Steve Brewster, for a wealthy business tycoon. However his store, the Sportman’s Chalet, was a popular fixture in the Bellingham Washington community for over 30 years. Unfortunately, Steve found it necessary to sell his business in 2001 due to a significant life change. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) around that time, Steve had to focus all of his energy on living with and managing his disease. Which is just what he did for the next two decades. Tragically, Steve lost his battle with MS in 2017 leaving the community he loved behind.
Surely a man who had been battling a progressive disease which was both physically and financially draining would have nothing left to leave the community he loved, right? Wrong, even with the costs of managing his MS, Steve was still able to accumulate $1 million over the course of his life. Take a look at how Steve’s generous gift is helping his community.
Back in the 1960s, a frugal and quiet bachelor stunned his small Ohio town with the bequest he left for the maintenace of the local rundown cemetery. W.E. Nichols lived an interesting life. From running away from home at 15 to fight in the Spanish-American War to buying scores of Chevron stock certificates off of drunken oil field workers, Mr. Nichols’ young life could be thought of as anything but boring. Of course most of these interesting tidbits, including the fact that he was a multi-millionaire, didn’t come to light until after his passing. The residents of 1960s Grelton Ohio were just as shocked as we are today when learning about a Surprise Millionaire. I guess some things never change!