Close Ad

Janitor Who Amassed $8M In Secret Shocks Whole Town After His Death
Ronald Read
Entrepreneurs

Janitor Who Amassed $8M In Secret Shocks Whole Town After His Death

One unassuming man left a generous legacy for an entire town.


Simple man

By all accounts, Brattleboro Vermont resident Ronald Read was a simple man who lived by simple means.

Working part-time as a janitor at JC Penny, he drove to work every day in his most expensive possession, a $5,000 second-hand Toyota Yaris.

Ellen Smith, who befriended him while working at the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, remembers his daily routine.

“He’d order the same thing each morning – a cup of coffee and an English muffin with peanut butter,” she recalled to TODAY.

She also added that his wardrobe was in tatters.

"He would wear winter coats with safety pins keeping them closed."

- Ellen Smith, friend of Ronald Read

His secret fortune

When Read passed away at age 92, his estate lawyer Laurie Rowell wasn’t expecting much.

"Initially, he told me that he had money and I didn't really think so because of the way he dressed," she told TODAY.

She even recalled that despite his failing health, "he had parked far enough far enough away that he didn't have to pay the [parking] meter."

And so, nothing prepared Rowell or Read's own family for what they discovered. The simple janitor had amassed an incredible $8 million fortune!

It turns out that Read had a talent for stock-picking. Decades of shrewd investments and patience helped build his fortune.

Along with that news, his estate donated $4.8 million to the local hospital and $1.2 million to the town's Brooks Memorial Library.

The library's director, Jerry Carbone, was floored: "It was like a thunderbolt"

Brattleboro Memorial Hospital's director of development and marketing Gina Pattison was equally shocked.

"To know that he was worth $8 million — and also that he left so much to this hospital — was just amazing, and incredibly generous," she added.

Never judge someone by appearances

Rowell recalls how important protecting his savings was to Read.

"He really wanted that money to be taken care of, because it represented so much of what he had worked for, throughout his life," she said. "He was very fearful of it being squandered."

Yet, arguably, Read's biggest legacy is a lesson that we can all learn from.

That is, never judge someone by the car they drive, the clothes they wear or the way they talk. Just like Ronald Read, they might remember your kindness and repay you in spades on day.

More uplifting news:

Hot Stories

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman hugging and Keith Urban giving a speech.

Keith Urban Speaks About How Wife Nicole Kidman "Chose Love"

Instagram/ @keithurban and photo by Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images

Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman may have a marriage made in (Hollywood) heaven, but it started in hell.

Less than four months into their union, Urban's battle with addictions spiraled out of control, forcing Kidman to stage an intervention. With his life and marriage imploding, he sought help at the Betty Ford Center, his third rehab stint in eight years.

Despite all of the voices telling her to walk away, Kidman held on fast to love.

Keep ReadingShow less
Uplifting News
(L) Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake smile (M) Justin Timberlake Mugshot (R) Jessica Biel walks with son Silas in her arms.
Photo by SGranitz/WireImage | Sag Harbor Police Department | Photo by Robert Kamau/GC Images

Justin Timberlake, once the poster boy for the iconic '90s boyband *NSYNC, has seen his public image take a significant hit this year. Following the release of his ex-girlfriend Britney Spears' scathing tell-all memoir, The Woman In Me, Timberlake's reputation has been under intense scrutiny. Now, his battle with addiction has moved from the shadows to the spotlight after a wild night ended with the Social Network star’s mugshot plastered across headlines.

Keep ReadingShow less
Celebrities