Phyllis Hanse was a fixture in her small town of Webster South Dakota. An unassuming woman, Phyllis had taught piano to thousands of children over several decades beginning in the 1950s. Even though she had no children of her own, she was a fixture at local school activities over the years. Maybe that’s why she left the $4.2 million surprise for the local school and community.
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!
Frank Washburn was quite well-known in his hometown of Rapid City South Dakota. A local auto repairman and real estate dabbler, Mr. Washburn was always there to lend a helping hand to those in need. So it was really no surprise that this generous man left behind a very generous gift for his hometown community…