John Shephard was a shy and quiet man happy to spend his time among the historical exhibits of the museum he so tirelessly curated. Fond of reading and classical music, Mr. Shephard lived a quiet and simple life centered around the arts and the museum that he loved. What few people knew was that Mr. Shephard had another hobby that paid off quite well; namely saving and investing his money. Upon his death in 2003, it was no surprise that Mr. Shephard left his substantial life savings to the museum. Apparently, his estate was so substantial that the museum was able to transfer a portion of the funds to a local foundation to help the community as a whole. Another inspiring story to add to our Surprise Millionaire collection!
There has been a flurry of news reports coming from the Pacific Northwest over the past few months regarding donations made from a multi-millionaire’s estate. Organizations
ranging from local museums to state parks have received assistance from a trust set up by millionaire Elizabeth ‘Bette’ Ruth Wallace.
So who was this Bette Wallace? Was she some high society grand dame looking to leave her mark through philanthropy? Or maybe a high powered executive who had earned top dollar during her career? No, Bette was neither of those things but was still pretty grand none the less.
Bette and her husband Bryan were the owners of a small drug store that they worked very hard to make a success. Through that hard work, the Wallaces were able to grow a little nest egg. After Bryan’s passing, Bette took that little nest egg and invested in several rental properties in a northern California area to bring in some income. It just so happened that in the years that followed, that particular northern California area, the one where Bette had her little rental properties, would go on to be renamed Silicon Valley! Much to her ‘surprise’, Bette had become a ‘Surprise Real Estate Mogul’.
However despite this financial windfall, Bette never lived extravagantly and always stayed just the same person she had always been. It was this ‘surprise’ real estate empire which allowed Bette to leave such a wonderful legacy to the communities in which she had called home. It seems Bette found the right ‘prescription’ for success.