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.
Named after the great 19th century education reformer, it would seem that college professor Horace Mann was always destined to be an educator. However, most college professors are not destined to become millionaires. That takes frugality and long term investing. Fortunately, Horace Mann had all of the attributes to make that happen!
Nancy A. Johnson made history as the first female athletic coach in her Erie County New York school district. This educator and trailblazer left a wonderful surprise for her Alma Mater as well.
The little man at the corner store was a staple in his neighborhood for decades. Always there with a friendly smile and a helpful attitude, you could almost take someone like that for granted. However, we have learned here at the Surprise Millionaires that these are the exact type of people never to take for granted …
Melvin and Kathryn Johnson grew up during a time when educational opportunities were hard to come by; especially when you were trying to make a living and put food on the table. That is why their recent gifts to the Yellowstone Boys & Girls Ranch as well as their local school districts made such a lasting impression. It is people (and Surprise Millionaires) like these folks that make me hopeful for the future!
Edward Daken amassed quite a fortune through hard work, frugal living and wise investing. However, unlike other surprise millionaires, Mr. Daken amassed his wealth for the express purpose of leaving it to worthwhile causes. It seems that years ago Mr. Daken read a story about another gentleman who amassed wealth through frugality leaving his wealth to a local school district. Mr. Daken must have thought, “if he can do it, so can I”. And then … he DID!
The citizens of northwest Oklahoma can be proud to count Vera Mae Eversole as one of their own. A former school teacher, animal lover, choir member and caretaker for her mother and brother, Vera displayed the kind of attributes that make the people of Oklahoma one of a kind. This Surprise Millionaire didn’t even let her attorney in on the secret of her net worth. She let her last will and testament do the talking for her!