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!
L. Carl “Sammy” Goad, an almost lifelong resident of Homer Illinois, was a man with a secret. It was a secret known to only his closest friends and associates. It wasn’t until Sammy’s passing that his secret was finally revealed.
And Even the local news had something to say about it.
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!
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
Pennsylvania mechanical engineer, Raymond Suckling, lived a modest life. Fond of White Castle hamburgers and the chipped beef served at his local diner, Mr. Suckling would not be described as a connoisseur of the finer things in life. That is unless you count the fine quality of his friendships and his sterling character.
Mr. Suckling’s life did start out with what one might think of as somewhat privileged. The son of a business executive, Raymond was afforded a good education even after his father’s death when Raymond was only a boy. But it appears that the “silver spoon” stopped there. Mr. Suckling’s adult life was characterized by hard work, sound investing and a frugal, unassuming character.
As you can imagine, it was quite a shock to his friends and associates when they learned that Mr. Suckling had left an estate totaling $37.1 million to a Pittsburgh area charity.
Who would have thought that the man who was fond of Velcro sneakers, drove a Subaru and loved White Castle hamburgers was the same man who accumulated $37.1 million? No one, apparently! While some reports state that the majority of Raymond’s wealth was inherited, those who knew him best indicate that it was a combination of inherited and accumulated wealth due to Ray’s unassuming frugal ways.
Regardless of the origin of his wealth, it was Mr. Suckling’s unassuming thrifty lifestyle which allowed him to make such a dynamic impact on his community and change lives for the better.
We are all aging. It is just a fact of life. However, many people react to this fact by withdrawing from daily life thinking that they have nothing to contribute to the world. This would never be said of today’s Surprise Millionaire Helen Yecny. This northern California lady recently passed away at the ripe old age of 99 and with the accolades and praise heaped upon her, you would think she was a young vibrant person half her age!
Frugal to a fault and always saving for that “rainy day”, Helen was quite the character. Content to live in the home and walnut orchard that she was born in, Helen could be seen most days tending to her yard and her orchard working to maintain the business that had supplemented she and her husband Lou’s income for decades.
However, don’t let it be said that Helen didn’t know how to enjoy life! After Lou’s passing, Helen became quiet the traveler accompanying friends to such places as Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii and Europe. She was also known for her quick wit and sense of humor which would liven up any conversation she was involved in.
Having not been blessed with children, Helen and Lou wanted to find a way to assist the children of the Central Valley region of California with obtaining a much-needed education.
This is why California State University, Stanislaus is the grateful recipient of $2.3 million from Helen’s estate. The funds will be used to sponsor scholarships through the university’s undergraduate honors program. But that’s not all, rumor has it that Helen left funds to some of the local high school districts as well.
I believe Helen’s obituary says it best, “Helen’s afterglow will be felt for generations to come.” What a wonderful statement and what a wonderful life!