An Immeasurable Legacy

 

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Here at the Surprise Millionaires, we often report on an individual who has recently passed indicating that their bequests will result in a lasting legacy.  Today, we have the opportunity to see that legacy come to its fruition.

This past January, the final sum of Surprise Millionaire John A. Johnson’s twenty year trust was delivered to the Salvation Army of Chautauqua County, New York.  Mr. Johnson, a quiet and frugal Swedish immigrant, had left an estate worth $7 million back in 1996 to the people of Chautauqua County and specifically to his hometown of Jamestown.

Mr. Johnson had been a factory worker and carpenter throughout his life and was also a shrewd investor.  He was known to be a follower of the “buy and hold” strategy.   Once he bought a stock, he never sold.  That strategy certainly paid off for him!

For the past twenty years Mr. Johnson’s millions have stayed right in the community he loved and benefited the human services programs administered by the Salvation Army.  The ripple effect of Mr. Johnson’s legacy cannot be measured!  What a blessing he was to his community!

 

A Surprise Millionaire Leaves a Peaceful Legacy

“.. He was so respected and so well liked. Such a gentleman. So charming. Very humble.”

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I think we can all agree that when stress takes it’s toll on our lives it is nice to have a place to recharge our batteries.  For many of us a long walk in nature where we can quietly pray or contemplate is the perfect therapy.   This was certainly the case for today’s Surprise Millionaire John Repetski.

The retired western New York auto worker walked the grounds of his assisted living apartment complex every day that weather allowed.  So it was only natural that part of his nearly $3 million estate was used to widen and extend the existing “friendship path” at his senior living facility to give access to more residents.

Read more about Mr. Repetski here

The Thrifty Way To Happiness

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I have always known it to be true but now there appears to be some proof.  The more thrifty a person is has a direct correlation to their happiness and life satisfaction.  At least according to this article and the poll they reference.  Now we know why our Surprise Millionaires always seem like such happy and content people!

Changing The World

“..individuals who put a few words in their wills and change the world.”

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I recently came across an article involving a Surprise Millionaire I profiled a while back.  What struck me about the article was the profound statement made by the community director of the foundation that received the bulk of the estate:

“The largest gifts (to the foundation) usually come from good people who lived quietly in service to family, church, and community,” Holmes said. “More and more the foundation is receiving large gifts from individuals who put a few words in their wills and change the world.”

This is true of every Surprise Millionaire that we profile on this blog.  A few simple lines in a will causes a chain reaction that reverberates through peoples’ lives sometimes for generations.  Whether it is fighting poverty, preserving history or protecting the disadvantaged, our Surprise Millionaires make a real impact on their communities and by extension, the world.  What a wonderful way to live your life!

“Weird Ward” A True Teacher

… he taught me that it’s not about yourself. ‘Do something for someone else — someone you’ll never meet.’

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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.

A Word To The Wise

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A word to all of you potential Surprise Millionaires out there.  Remember, the key to wealth accumulation is long-term, consistent investing.  Markets may rise and fall, but the long-term, consistent investor will achieve the goal of wealth accumulation by practicing these simple habits.  Remember the mantra of the Surprise Millionaires, “anyone can accumulate wealth”!