Norma and Angus Beaton were two of my original Surprise Millionaires (you can find more like them in my book). I happened across a video regarding these fine people and the generous gift of their entire life savings left to charity. It was a real walk down memory lane for me and I hope for you too.
No one would call her an influential person … until now. Lucille Taylor lived her entire life in and around the small town of Middleton Wisconsin. During her formative years, she worked on her family’s fruit and dairy farm. Having left school after the eighth grade to care for her ailing mother and younger siblings, she didn’t have the opportunity for an advanced education that might help her land a job paying more than minimum wage .
She soon married a young man of similar background and they proceeded to make their way in the world with her cleaning houses and he driving trucks. Besides their meager circumstances, this young couple also endured the additional heartache of never being able to have the children they so wanted.
The Taylors persevered through these circumstances living the classic hard-working life typical of many americans. However, never let it be said that the Taylors didn’t know how to enjoy life! Throughout their lives they managed to travel to nearly all 50 states and even did some international travel as well.
However, even with their frequent travels the Taylors never failed to save and invest a portion of their limited income with the hopes of having a nest egg for their retirement years.
This brings us to 2013 when the now widowed Lucille wanted to use a portion of that “nest egg” to enhance the lives of the children of Middleton. After considering several options, she settled on a $100,000 donation to begin work on a city park with more to follow over the coming years! The people of Middleton were shocked by this wonderful gesture.
But wait, there’s more. The local business community was so impressed by Lucille’s vision and spirit of giving that they stepped up as well to raise additional funding to get the park properly launched. As a result, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Harvey John & Lucille Taylor Memorial Park was held on May 11, 2015 with Lucille as the guest of honor!
And the accolades just kept on coming! Lucille was subsequently honored with the Wisconsin Park & Recreation Association’s 2015 Fellowship Award once again as the guest of honor.
We could all learn a lot from the life of Lucille Taylor. She is the perfect example that living below your means while saving and investing could make any of us wealthy some day. More importantly though, following these concepts could give all of us that same opportunity to become an influential person in our own communities just like Lucille.
I happened across the most inspiring story from a few years back about a Surprise Millionaire from an impoverished background who spends his life helping others. It is the perfect example of someone who finds their true treasure in others rather than the balance in their bank account. If anyone has an update on this gentleman and what he is doing these days feel free to share below. Thanks!
A little technical college in Milwaukee received a surprising gift a few years ago that has been assisting students with the cost of schooling ever since. And to think, all of this from a little old lady who took some sewing and painting classes at the college after her retirement. Another Surprise Millionaire has left their legacy and made their mark on the local community!
Frank Stern was a no nonsense businessman with the stated goal of making as much money as possible. This in and of itself sounds pretty ordinary for the business world. However, it was Mr. Stern’s reasoning for making that money which set him apart from other entrepreneurs. You see, the more money Frank made, the more he would be able to leave behind for the benefit of his community. Frank was low-key, frugal, and a great investor who wasn’t about to spend an extra dime that could be put to better use. He followed this pattern even if it meant driving miles out of his way to avoid the dreaded toll bridge in town! Frank and his thrifty ways resulted in a great windfall for his community.
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.