The Value of Education

‘She felt that if you were well-educated, you could do anything’

Happy New Year (1)

A little technical college in Milwaukee received a surprising gift a few years ago thatMarian Drake Breskar (2) has been assisting students with the cost of schooling ever since. And to think, all of this from a little old lady who took some sewing and painting classes at the college after her retirement.  Another Surprise Millionaire has left their legacy and made their mark on the local community!

A Surprise Millionaire In Her Own Words

I have had the pleasure of following Dave Ramsey and his organization for quite some time. Dave is well known for helping people get out of debt and also helping them to accumulate some wealth along the way.  He uses financial concepts found in biblical scripture as well as plain common sense to help people reach their financial goals.

One of Dave’s most popular segments from his podcast/radio show is the “Millionaire Theme Hour” in which regular folks who are currently millionaires call in and explain how they reached this milestone. During one of these segments I was happy to hear from a lady who we would describe as a Surprise Millionaire.  This particular lady related how she accumulated her wealth by living below her means and investing wisely.  It is a rare chance to hear a Surprise Millionaire in their own words so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to introduce “Terry from Denver” to my readers.  Enjoy!  

 

He Engineered His Success

“In an age of pretension that’s often self-aggrandizing, he was the opposite..”

Gray Circle Header

Pennsylvania mechanical engineer, Raymond Suckling, lived a modest life.  Fond of White Castle hamburgers and the chipped beef served at his local diner, Mr. Suckling would not be described as a connoisseur of the finer things in life.  That is unless you count the fine quality of his friendships and his sterling character.

Mr. Suckling’s life did start out with what one might think of as somewhat privileged.  The son of a business executive, Raymond was afforded a good education even after his father’s death when Raymond was only a boy.  But it appears that the “silver spoon” stopped there.  Mr. Suckling’s adult life was characterized by hard work, sound investing and a frugal, unassuming character.

As you can imagine, it was quite a shock to his friends and associates when they learned that Mr. Suckling had left an estate totaling $37.1 million to a Pittsburgh area charity.

Who would have thought that the man who was fond of Velcro sneakers, drove a Subaru and loved White Castle hamburgers was the same man who accumulated $37.1 million? No one, apparently!  While some reports state that the majority of Raymond’s wealth was inherited, those who knew him best indicate that it was a combination of inherited and accumulated wealth due to Ray’s unassuming frugal ways.

Regardless of the origin of his wealth, it was Mr. Suckling’s unassuming thrifty lifestyle which allowed him to make such a dynamic impact on his community and change lives for the better.

“Weird Ward” A True Teacher

… he taught me that it’s not about yourself. ‘Do something for someone else — someone you’ll never meet.’

Gray Circle Header

Teachers

I’m sure there are many of us who could tell a story about a teacher who once inspired us, made us think about life in a different way or just made learning fun!  Today’s Surprise Millionaire did all of those things while accumulating some wealth along the way.

High school chemistry teacher Pat ‘Weird’ Ward inspired his students with his wacky way of teaching chemistry.  This led his students to bestow upon him the honorary moniker of ‘Weird’ Ward.  Mr. Ward was also the type of teacher who inspired his students to reach for more in life than what they thought they might attain in their Tulsa Oklahoma neighborhoods.  So it was no surprise upon his passing that this long time educator left a bequest to education.  However, the size and scope of the gift was quite unexpected.