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!
The Surprise Millionaires from Aberdeen(shire) Scotland just keep on coming! I have now learned about Jean Alexander, a retired midwife and newborn health visitor who left an impressive 1.6 million pound estate to the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Scotland in honor of her late mother. The MS Society reports that they hope to use part of the donation to develop a program to assist caregivers of loved ones with MS just like Jean was at one time. A Surprise Millionaire leaves a powerful gift to help those who find themselves in one of life’s greatest challenges, what could be more wonderful than that?
Some of you might remember the little man at the corner store, Leonard Gigowski, the Milwaukee resident with the amazing knack for growing and maintaining wealth. Well, I was amazed when I recently found another story about a Surprise Millionaire who lived an almost identical life! Buffalo’s Waldemar Kaminski was also the sole proprietor of a corner store just like Mr. Gigowski, both men were butchers by trade, unmarried and of polish heritage. But most importantly, both men exhibited the Surprise Millionaire virtues of frugality and consistent, long-term investing. It should also be noted that both men loved their respective communities and wanted to leave a lasting legacy which they both did in amazing ways!
Meet Waldemar Kaminski:
A British transplant to the Isle of Skye leaves a wealth (2 million pounds!) of goodwill to her adopted home. Pauline Pettefar moved to the northern Scottish coastal island of Skye some thirty years ago after a long career as a paralegal in her brother’s law office back in England. It appears the enterprising Miss Pettefar was able to accumulate quite a bit of wealth throughout her lifetime in which to bless the good people of Skye. Organizations as diverse as the Crossroads Care Charity Shop to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution will benefit from Miss Pettefar’s estate. It is heartwarming to know that this very private, but very generous lady thought so much of the community that welcomed her so many years ago.
It looks as though Aberdeen Scotland has another Surprise Millionaire to boast about. If you recall, last year we profiled Aberdeen resident Mrs. Jane Hutton and her amazing wealth-building ability. This year, we can add Aberdeen’s own Agnes “Nessie” Bruce to the list. The frugal and mild-mannered Mrs. Bruce who passed away in 2018, left a secret 1.3 million pound estate to be split between many worthwhile charities around Scotland. According to relatives, Mrs. Bruce was a really nice woman who was fond of knitting, needlework, and travel. I’m sure her relatives are proud to know that the fortune left by this very sweet person will benefit many in the immediate community as well as Scotland as a whole.