A Surprise Millionaire leaves a lifeline to a local institution that functioned as a lifeline to her over the years. Flemington New Jersey resident, Jane Kitchin, loved her local library. As the elderly lady’s health declined during her final years, it was the local library staff who brought and retrieved books from Kitchen’s home. Thus keeping her mind and spirit engaged with the world around her through the wonder of books. That’s why it was very special that Jane remembered the library with a portion of her multi-million dollar estate. Yes, this frugal lady left a legacy to an institution that meant so much to her and the community.
I just stumbled across a video concerning one of the original Surprise Millionaire’s I profiled in my book, Mr. Ronald Read. It appears some financial professionals were discussing just how Mr. Read, a one-time janitor, amassed his multi-million dollar portfolio. If you would like to verify that the Surprise Millionaire lifestyle of living below your means and investing wisely is the key to success, just listen to what these experts are saying:
I happened across this article and thought you might enjoy!
Frugal family leaves nearly $1 million to Hampton groups
JESSICA MILLER, Courier Staff Writer Mar 11, 2003
HAMPTON – Two private women in life have become public benefactors in death.
Beulah and Lulah Alert left $885,000 to local organizations, $285,000 each to the Hampton Public Library Foundation, the Franklin County Historical Society and the Franklin General Hospital Foundation.
“What a wonderful gift they have given the community,” library director Judy Harper said.
Residents knew little about the Alert family. The women and their parents lived frugally choosing to go without running water or electricity.
Sometimes their isolation brought on personal attacks. And few outside the family apparently knew of the sister’s considerable investments until after Beulah’s death in November 2001. Lulah died in 1994.
“I think everyone was surprised at the amount,” Harper said.
The surprise just reinforces the adage not to judge a book by its cover, said Jim Jorgensen Jr., executor of the estate.
“Just because they lived that way, doesn’t mean that they didn’t appreciate their community,” he said.
Jorgensen befriended the family when Beulah’s older sister Lulah asked him to run their farm in the 1960s. Though the family lived without modern conveniences, Jorgensen said they were well-read and that they did listen to a battery-powered radio.
Lulah Alert attended Iowa State University, earning a degree in chemistry. She returned to care for her family. Neither sibling married or had children.
Jorgensen suspects Lulah made most of the investments because she managed the farm. She probably gleaned investment information from publications such as the Wall Street Journal and U.S. News & World Report.
Jorgensen learned of the wise investments only after Beulah asked him to become a conservator of the trust when Lulah died. He said he did not influence Alert’s decision on how to distribute the funds.
The Hampton organizations received the fruit of the investments near the end of February, but no one knows why the women picked the organizations they did.
Jorgensen, a member of the Franklin County Historical Society, assumes the money received by the organization will go into a fund, though foundation members have not decided what to do.
The library could use the money for part of a renewal project for the 100-year-old building. However, foundation members have not made a decision.
The hospital foundation will use some of the money for a project and invest remaining funds. The foundation learned it was included in Alert’s will last year, but only learned the amount in February.
“I want to express our gratitude,” said Le Ann Strother, director of the hospital’s foundation. “These people lived very quiet lives in this community and quietly left such a wonderful gift that will be appreciated for years to come.”
Sidney Thomas of Athens Georgia loved reading; so much so that his home could easily be mistaken for the local library. And why not, he was a retired librarian. In fact, the University of Georgia libraries were the recipients of many second hand books donated by Sidney Thomas over the years. But it was his last donation that left everyone speechless…
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!