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Frugal Man Leaves Surprise $4.8M to Hospital, Library

Ronald Read, 92, liked to forage for firewood (and invest in stocks)
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 4, 2015 9:26 AM CST
Frugal Man Leaves Surprise $4.8M to Hospital, Library
Stock image   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A Vermont man known for frugally foraging for firewood has bequeathed millions of dollars to his local library and hospital. Ronald Read left $4.8 million to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and $1.2 million to the Brooks Memorial Library upon his death in June at the age of 92. The Brattleboro Reformer reports they're the largest gifts either has received.

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Read served in World War II before returning home in 1945. He was a private, modest man who worked at a service station for nearly 25 years, then at JCPenney until 1997. But lawyer Laurie Rowell says Read had two hobbies: cutting firewood and picking stocks. She says over time, his investments "grew substantially." The institutions who received the surprise donations say they'll be transformative. (Read more donation stories.)

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