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.
We are all aging. It is just a fact of life. However, many people react to this fact by withdrawing from daily life thinking that they have nothing to contribute to the world. This would never be said of today’s Surprise Millionaire Helen Yecny. This northern California lady recently passed away at the ripe old age of 99 and with the accolades and praise heaped upon her, you would think she was a young vibrant person half her age!
Frugal to a fault and always saving for that “rainy day”, Helen was quite the character. Content to live in the home and walnut orchard that she was born in, Helen could be seen most days tending to her yard and her orchard working to maintain the business that had supplemented she and her husband Lou’s income for decades.
However, don’t let it be said that Helen didn’t know how to enjoy life! After Lou’s passing, Helen became quiet the traveler accompanying friends to such places as Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii and Europe. She was also known for her quick wit and sense of humor which would liven up any conversation she was involved in.
Having not been blessed with children, Helen and Lou wanted to find a way to assist the children of the Central Valley region of California with obtaining a much-needed education.
This is why California State University, Stanislaus is the grateful recipient of $2.3 million from Helen’s estate. The funds will be used to sponsor scholarships through the university’s undergraduate honors program. But that’s not all, rumor has it that Helen left funds to some of the local high school districts as well.
I believe Helen’s obituary says it best, “Helen’s afterglow will be felt for generations to come.” What a wonderful statement and what a wonderful life!
A Surprise Millionaire in Georgia thought he was doing a wonderful thing by leaving his local church a staggering bequest of $60,000,000; his entire life’s savings. However, the momentous event seemed to be more of a burden for the small congregation instead of a blessing. Where to use the money and how to use the money were decisions left up to the congregation with no direction from their benefactor. For a house of faith who wanted to remain just that, a house of the faithful; this posed some major concerns.
Would greed rear its ugly head, would they make the right decisions regarding the use of the money when there were literally thousands of worthy causes and organizations that could benefit? These concerns were turning what was meant to be a wonderful thing in to a major stressor for the church and its congregation.
This brings me to my point for all of you potential Surprise Millionaires out there. When determining who you will leave your wealth to, it is best to divide that wealth between several organizations, individuals and worthy causes rather than placing the entire estate and all of the pressures it may bring on one entity. Secondly, please either stipulate or at least suggest what you would like the funds to be used for.
A little planning on your part could save some very grateful, but conflicted people a little angst in the future.
We had an interesting discussion today at breakfast. My daughter was talking about one of her friends who was “really rich.” She talked about how her father was a heart surgeon, that they lived in a big house, and how she was always bringing new things to school. These are the types of things that people […]
Here is a post from The Small Investor regarding the purchase of automobiles. Like our Surprise Millionaires, The Small Investor would never buy new when used will do! Just think of all the depreciation you will avoid and the interest you will save when you make the decision to purchase that gently used automobile!
Mrs. SmallIvy is truly wonderful and supportive when it comes to handling money. One area where that really shows is in car purchases. Early on in our marriage we made the stupid decision to buy …
Continue Reading: Buying a New Used Car
Flora Cornelia “Neill” Bullock Wilkins lived a quiet life. The widow of a local doctor, Mrs. Wilkins was known around the Fayetteville North Carolina area as a former school teacher and church-going lady who loved her community. It was noted that “She lived quietly and frugally, enjoying her church, family and old friends.”
By all accounts, Mrs. Wilkins was no society matron or jet-setting physician’s wife but rather the spouse of an old-fashioned small town doctor from days gone by. A time when doctors made house calls and would work with patients who didn’t always have the means to pay. There weren’t many jet-setting vacations for these types of physicians.
This is why many charities and institutions in the area were stunned to learn that they were the recipients of Mrs. Wilkins’ $2.7 million estate! What a wonderful gift from a wonderful lady.
Helen Banas lived a quiet life during her retirement years in Laguna Woods California. A widow for more than 50 years, Helen was fond of the simple things in life such as eating bonbons and enjoying the beautiful Southern California weather from the balcony of her modest townhome.
Known as a frugal sort, Helen did not spend money on things she did not need but rather chose to invest her income and watch it grow. And grow it did!
Upon her death in 2012 Helen left a whopping $27 million to both local and national Alzheimers charities. It turns out that Helen’s mother had suffered from the disease years earlier and she wanted to provide funds for research and the care of those affected. This multi-million dollar Surprise Millionaire is a great example of what can happen when you invest wisely over an extended period of time. The results can be astounding!
A big thank you to fiscallyfitchica for letting me know about this wonderful Surprise Millionaire!
Robert “Bob” Morin spent nearly fifty years working as a cataloger for the University of New Hampshire library while quietly accumulating a vast amount of wealth.
Mr. Morin was obviously a no frills kind of guy as evidenced in the news article below but led a very busy life:
“Morin wasn’t a big spender, but he kept busy. UNH said Morin was passionate about movies, and watched more than 22,000 videos from 1979 to 1997. He also read every book published in America between 1930 and 1940, excluding children’s books, textbooks and books about cooking and technology, UNH said.”
By living frugally and investing wisely, Mr. Morin was able to leave a $4 million estate to the university that he loved. The funds will be used to enhance the campus career center and a host of other projects. Let’s hope Mr. Morin’s example inspires others to live frugally, invest wisely and bless others with the results!
I recently became aware of a Surprise Millionaire who created quite a sensation a few years ago by the name of Matel “Matt” Dawson, Jr. more affectionately known around Detroit as the “forklift philanthropist”.
Born in Shreveport Louisiana, Mr. Dawson spent his formative years surviving the great depression and the inequality of that time. He wasn’t able to go to high school as he had to work to help support his family, but that didn’t mean he was opposed to scholastics.
On the contrary, Mr. Dawson believed that education was a tremendous thing and wanted young people to pursue their dreams without the worry of financial strain. This Detroit forklift operator who worked more than 60 years at his job gave a total of $1.25 million in scholarship money over his lifetime to deserving young people. He lived frugally, invested wisely and was able to help many others in the process. Another inspiring Surprise Millionaire story!