I think few would argue that Montana is a state called home by many rugged individualists. People who make their own way in life on their own terms. What a perfect place to produce a Surprise Millionaire!
LeRoy Beckman was just such a person. Raised in poverty by a single mother, Mr. Beckman went on to amass an estate totaling $3 million simply by virtue of his frugality and wise investing.
An avid outdoorsman, Mr. Beckman’s estate created a wildlife preserve to ensure that a large part of Montana’s vast terrain will remain unspoiled and accessible to the public for years to come.
Just when I thought I had read the most inspiring story ever (last post), I came across the story of Anna Kurzweil of Kansas City. A lifelong teacher and student of learning who put faith and others first in her life.
A world traveler (working in a leper colony!) gifted educator, writer, and poet, she counted her wealth in the friends she made, the family she loved and the faith she treasured, not in her bank book. But oh how her bank book told its own story!
Upon her death, the faith-based charities she honored were stunned to learn they would be the recipients of Anna’s $2 million estate!
Another amazing life well-lived and a benefit to mankind in general and their local community.
Those of you who have been following the Surprise Millionaires for a while know that I have posted and reported on many inspiring and wonderful people. But I have never been as moved as I was reading this man’s story. A humble and consummate gentleman who lived his life quietly while serving and giving back to his community. You can’t read this man’s story and not be inspired.
A small town Massachusetts Barber left quite a gift to the local library in honor of his late wife. Anthony J. Ralys and his barber shop were a fixture in Athol Massachusetts for over 38 years. Mr. and Mrs. Ralys lived in an unassuming little house on Warwick Avenue for most of their married life and were typical of the hard-working people of central Massachusetts. What wasn’t typical about this couple was their propensity to accumulate wealth. The Athol public library was shocked to learn that they would be receiving the bulk of the Ralys’ $1.6 million estate. I’m sure the shock was enough to make their hair stand on end!
A quiet man in Chicago whose death didn’t really make the news certainly made the news recently. James A. Flavin, a man who wore old clothes, drove a beat-up car and lived in a small home in a poor neighborhood was thought to have an estate worth about $53,000. But then they opened that safe deposit box…
I came across an article about a quiet man in Baldwinsville New York who left an estate of $750,000 to local charities for the benefit of his community. This man has become my new hero; not for the wealth he accumulated or what he left for charity (which are wonderful things), but for how he lived his life.
The article goes into a lot of detail about this gentleman’s life story but I believe it can best be summed up by this quote from a neighbor and friend:
“He kept his place very, very neat.” said John Kerniski, Ryder’s friend and neighbor since the early 1970s. “His house and storage barn were methodically organized. And he was always well-dressed and well-mannered. I think he took pride in being well-presented.”
And there it is; a man who took pride in his home and property treated people with respect and strove to be well-presented in everything he did. If we all tried to live in this way I am sure that the world would be a much kinder and saner place!
It’s the last day to download my Kindle ebook for free. I would like to thank all of you who have already downloaded your copy and hope you enjoy the read! The Surprise Millionaires has been a labor of love for me and a chance to profile some of the unsung heroes of giving and philanthropy in our world. Thanks again. 🙂
This Surprise Millionaire invested completely in the auto industry, but it is not what you think!
A man who was orphaned at the age of 4, never owned a home and lived the majority of his life in a YMCA. Oh, and he was a millionaire! Don’t believe me, read it for yourself.