Ordinary People, Extraordinary Wealth!

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Today’s Surprise Millionaire typifies the very meaning of our saying, “ordinary people, extraordinary wealth”.  A woman who inherited a tidy sum but refused to let it change her lifestyle.  On the contrary, through saving and frugality that “tidy sum” eventually grew into a  wonderful legacy for her community.

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KREM2 NEWS SPOKANE, Wash. – Helen Stowell lived a simple life in West Central Spokane.

“Very simple. She was modest, unassuming. She drove an old Subaru. She gardened, pulled weeds. She walked the neighborhood with her neighbors,” said neighbor Linda Hawkins. “I’ve known her for 20 years. We used to exchange vegetables. She had her tomatoes and I had my squash.”

Stowell’s family first came to the Inland Northwest before the turn of the 20th century. Her grandfather opened a successful drugstore on Sprague Avenue.

Stowell did not know it, but her grandfather’s success would eventually supply her wealth.

“In the early 90’s, she became a multiple millionaire and really unknown to her that she had come into that kind of wealth,” said Mark Hurtuise, Inland Northwest Community Foundation CEO.

Following her passing, Stowell left $3 million to the Inland Northwest Community Foundation, a non-profit that awards grants and scholarships throughout the region.

A woman who lived simply her whole life suddenly donated millions of dollars; something that shocked her neighbors.

“It’s amazing. You never know about people. She didn’t need it, she kept it. She just used what she needed,” said Hawkins.

Stowell’s gift brought the INCWF over the $100 million mark.

“The byproduct of that is, it’s going to attract businesses to the community. It’s going to get other very wealthy people to start to think ‘Maybe I should leave what I have visa vi the Community Foundation to benefit the community,’” said Hurtuise.

Stowell’s choice to live a simple life will impact thousands.

“She didn’t use her resources, that kind of wealth, just to live a life of extravagance. The purity and honesty of her philanthropy was for the community and that’s really what’s to be celebrated here,” said Hurtuise.

Stowell’s donation has been placed in a fund benefiting animals, wildlife and the environment.

 

For the Love of Reading

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Someone once said that through the love of reading you can travel the world and be anyone you want to be without ever having to leave the comfort of your armchair.  And if you are the frugal sort like Alice Jumper, it is a whole lot less expensive as well!  In fact, through her love of reading, Alice was able to accumulate a $1 million portfolio that will be benefiting Central Michigan University and its Library well into the future.

The Man From Brillion Is Worth A Million!

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Chester Tamm spent his entire life in and around the small Wisconsin town of Brillion. One could say that he was almost a fixture in that rural farming community. Born in 1927, Chester operated his family’s farm outside of Brillion until it was sold in 1965. He then took an evening shift position at a local lawn equipment manufacturer until his retirement in 1988. Chester went about his work and his life in a slow steady pace striving for excellence in all that he did.

He was a man who sought to help others in need. He was very active in his church and would not hesitate to help his neighbors whether asked to or not. He was the type of gentleman that anyone would want for a friend, neighbor or family member. However, even with all of these attributes, there was no one in Brillion who would describe Chester Tamm as a wealthy man. That has changed.

After Chester’s passing in 2010 the people of Brillion were shocked to learn that this quiet and modest man had accumulated a “small fortune” over his lifetime and once more had left said fortune to many deserving institutions in and around the town of Brillion Wisconsin. Local churches, community centers and libraries are a little more fiscally sound thanks to Chester Tamm’s most generous gift.  Chester was another Surprise Millionaire who made a difference to the people of his community.