I always love it when Surprise Millionaires get their time in the spotlight and business blogger Joshua Kennon has done just that. Joshua has caught on to the Surprise Millionaire phenomenon of people with average incomes amassing large amounts of wealth. He has also caught on to the not so secret fact that steady investing over a long period of time is the key to success. Joshua’s article even mentions a few of the Surprise Millionaires featured in my book. Most surprisingly, his article was written in 2014! Where have I been? I always make it a point to be on the lookout for Surprise Millionaire “moments”. Oh well, better late than never, enjoy!
The 30,000 or so residents of Jamestown New York have quite a bit to be proud of these days. They don’t have just one Surprise Millionaire in their midst but two! I happened across this copy of the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation newsletter paying homage to one Edwin L. Danielson of Jamestown. Mr. Danielson joins John A. Johnson as a son of Jamestown New York who gave back to his community changing lives for the better.
The foundation had this to say about Mr. Danielson:
“(Ed) was a soft-spoken gentleman whose generosity was an extension of his character. He was unassuming, happy and humble. He held an undying devotion to those he loved and to those he held in high regard. He was thoughtful and disciplined. A man with a can-do attitude and a benevolent heart.”
All I can say is wow, just wow! What a wonderful testament to a life well spent.
No one would call her an influential person … until now. Lucille Taylor lived her entire life in and around the small town of Middleton Wisconsin. During her formative years, she worked on her family’s fruit and dairy farm. Having left school after the eighth grade to care for her ailing mother and younger siblings, she didn’t have the opportunity for an advanced education that might help her land a job paying more than minimum wage .
She soon married a young man of similar background and they proceeded to make their way in the world with her cleaning houses and he driving trucks. Besides their meager circumstances, this young couple also endured the additional heartache of never being able to have the children they so wanted.
The Taylors persevered through these circumstances living the classic hard-working life typical of many americans. However, never let it be said that the Taylors didn’t know how to enjoy life! Throughout their lives they managed to travel to nearly all 50 states and even did some international travel as well.
However, even with their frequent travels the Taylors never failed to save and invest a portion of their limited income with the hopes of having a nest egg for their retirement years.
This brings us to 2013 when the now widowed Lucille wanted to use a portion of that “nest egg” to enhance the lives of the children of Middleton. After considering several options, she settled on a $100,000 donation to begin work on a city park with more to follow over the coming years! The people of Middleton were shocked by this wonderful gesture.
But wait, there’s more. The local business community was so impressed by Lucille’s vision and spirit of giving that they stepped up as well to raise additional funding to get the park properly launched. As a result, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Harvey John & Lucille Taylor Memorial Park was held on May 11, 2015 with Lucille as the guest of honor!
And the accolades just kept on coming! Lucille was subsequently honored with the Wisconsin Park & Recreation Association’s 2015 Fellowship Award once again as the guest of honor.
We could all learn a lot from the life of Lucille Taylor. She is the perfect example that living below your means while saving and investing could make any of us wealthy some day. More importantly though, following these concepts could give all of us that same opportunity to become an influential person in our own communities just like Lucille.
If you were to ask her friends and neighbors, 93-year-old Queenie Cunningham was a very nice lady who was considered an asset to her small Scottish highland town. The retired secretary who suffered from the after effects of polio and had spent time in an iron lung as a young woman, never let her disability slow her down. She grew her own vegetables, was an ardent animal lover and never missed an episode of her favorite soap operas. All in all she was quite the character.
These days Queenie is more known for the amazing gifts she left her favorite charities after her 2017 passing. Most of her secret 2.2 million pound estate is currently shared by such organizations as the Salvation Army, the British Red Cross and Highland Hospice.
While the fact that Queenie was so generous upon her passing surprised no one, the fact that she was a multi-millionaire certainly did! This humble, quiet and most generous woman should be an inspiration to us all.