I think everyone has probably heard of Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha. His financial prowess is known the world over. But have you ever heard of the Oracle of Buffalo? No? Well you are going to now!
Meet Stephanie Mucha. This 100 year old lady is such an investment whiz that she has earned the nickname of the Oracle of Buffalo. Quite a compliment since it is a take on the nickname of the Oracle of Omaha himself. She has even had an article written about her in a premier investing publication.
Stephanie doesn’t give a lot of financial advice but she does have a wise word about facing life’s difficulties and challenges, “Keep a stiff upper lip.” I would also have to add, “and invest wisely”. I think these two things are truly the recipe for her success.
Our cousins over in the U.K. seem to be experiencing the Surprise Millionaire phenomenon themselves. A thrifty music teacher leaves a wonderful legacy to help children in Africa. Thank you Helen Ruddock for your wonderful gift that will provide clean drinking water for thousands in sub-Saharan Africa! I wonder, could the Surprise Millionaire phenomenon be going international?
Sylvia Bloom was a legal secretary who was described as a consummate professional by those who knew her. She worked for the same law firm for 67 years until she retired at the ripe old age of 96! But Sylvia the consummate professional had a secret. During her early years, Sylvia’s job as a secretary included making personal investments for the partners of her law firm. Whatever the law partners invested in, Sylvia invested in as well (in a smaller amount of course). This turned out to be a great investment strategy, to the tune of $9 million!
No, don’t let the title fool you. The millionaire in question was not some corporate titan or Hollywood celebrity flying the friendly skies in first class. Oh no, this millionaire was the flight attendant who served them!
Read more about her legacy at the York County Community Foundation (YCCF).
Land .. the original investment vehicle and still a great way to become the Surprise Millionaire in the many farming communities dotting our great nation. Millicent Atkins who lived in and around the small farming communities of South Dakota all of her life evidently knew this fact. So much so, that the public was astounded to learn the wealth she left behind put her in league with the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Bloomberg as one of the top 50 Americans who donated the most money in 2013!
This from a lady who flew so far under the radar she could frequently be seen visiting her bank wearing the same old farm clothes she had worn earlier that day managing her farmland. This same frugal and business minded lady grew her land holdings to a total of 4000 acres at the time of her passing making her a true land baron as well as one of the biggest philanthropists around!
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!
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