Secret Millionaire: Former Janitor, Gas Station Attendant Bequeaths $6 Million After Death At 92

Read died last June, at the age of 92.

Ronald Read, a former janitor and service station attendant from Vermont, astonished his neighbors by leaving $6 million to his local library and hospital, and his community is just now learning about his secret talent for investments.

Read died last June at the age of 92, according to the Daily Mail. Known by friends to be eminently frugal, he worked for 25 years at Haviland’s service station, before retiring and working for JCPenny until 1997 out of boredom. According to Read’s attorney, Laurie Rowell, he also enjoyed a secret talent at picking stocks, and his investments grew substantially over the years he held them, leaving him with millions.

After his passing, Read left $4.8 million to the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and $1.2 million to the town’s Brooks Memorial Library. The donations are the largest single gifts in the history of both institutions. Read also made several smaller bequests, including the donation of an antique Edison phonograph with dozens of recording drums, which he left to the Dummerston Historical Society.

“It’s really a beautiful machine,” Muriel Taylor, the Historical Society’s president, observed.

The millions that Read secretly accrued over his lifetime came as a shock not only to his local community, but also to family and friends. As the Brattleboro Reformer reports, Read’s stepson, Phillip Brown, claimed that the only indication he ever had of Read’s secret millions was his love of the Wall Street Journal.

“I was tremendously surprised,” Brown recalled. “He was a hard worker, but I don’t think anybody had an idea that he was a multi-millionaire.”

Indeed, local residents remember seeing Read cutting his own firewood into his 90s. Fellow Dummerston resident Ruth Marx noted that she once knitted him a hat because she felt he needed the help. Community members were stunned that he was secretly worth millions, she said.

Though Read’s will is surprising, some other unusual examples have popped up over the years. In one bizarre case, a millionaire detested his daughter’s son-in-law so deeply that he willed the man only 50 cents, with instructions that he use the money to buy a rope and hang himself, as the Inquisitr previously reported.

While the hospital allowed that Read’s gift was substantial and unexpected, the library asserted that the donation from the secret millionaire in their midst will be absolutely transformative.

[Image: AP via the Daily Mail]