North Dakota farmer Darrel Hendrickson made his living from the rich farmland of the aptly named Richland County. Even though he lived outside its city limits, Mr. Hendrickson loved the town of Colfax and wanted to remember the Richland County community in his will. And remember them he did! Local schools and churches will share in the more than $4.5 million estate Mr. Hendrickson accumulated throughout his life tilling and cultiviating the land. These gifts have obviously left the local community speechless. As a local school official stated, “I’m just marveling at this”. I must say that I am too!
This retired nurse with a big heart wowed her central Iowa community with very generous gifts disbursed to many area organizations. She left a gift of $130,165 to a local school district which was only a small portion of her wealth. She additionally, left substantial funds to a local Fire Department, a Senior Citizen Center and a local college . Her gifts were a true work of “heart” for her community.
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!
Meet Dr. Mary Stauffer; medical pioneer, philanthropist, centenarian and (not so surprise) millionaire. Dr. Stauffer marked her 100th birthday last year doing what she does best, giving back to her community. This is one inspiring lady!
We are often fond of saying here at The Surprise Millionaires that, “anyone can accumulate wealth”. I have observed this to be true time and time again even for people who live in the most humble of circumstances. That is why this gentleman and his story really touched me. The very fact that he was able to accumulate so much based on his meager income is completely amazing. However, it is nothing compared to the amazingness of his giving heart. This just goes to show that if you have a goal worth pursuing and the frugalness to live well below your means that anyone can truly accumulate wealth!
Don Slaughter was a man with a secret. Known as a quiet man who kept to himself, Mr. Slaughter lived outside of his Oregon community in a 100 year old farmhouse built by his parents. An able and capable woodsman, Don loved the simple life spending much of his time in the forest and lands surrounding his property. However, what no one knew is that Don owned all of that said land and much much more. You might actually call Mr. Slaughter a land baron of sorts. And what he did with this secret wealth is truly heart-warming.
Sylvia Bloom was a legal secretary who was described as a consummate professional by those who knew her. She worked for the same law firm for 67 years until she retired at the ripe old age of 96! But Sylvia the consummate professional had a secret. During her early years, Sylvia’s job as a secretary included making personal investments for the partners of her law firm. Whatever the law partners invested in, Sylvia invested in as well (in a smaller amount of course). This turned out to be a great investment strategy, to the tune of $9 million!
No, don’t let the title fool you. The millionaire in question was not some corporate titan or Hollywood celebrity flying the friendly skies in first class. Oh no, this millionaire was the flight attendant who served them!