Not even those closest to Ronald Read, a Vermont-based janitor, knew the quiet man had amassed a fortune of $6 million before until death.
“I always say about Ronald, ‘Still waters run deep,'” neighbor Mark Richards said in an interview posted to YouTube.
After his death in 2014, Read left $1.2 million dollars to the Brooks Memorial Library, and $4.8 million to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in Vermont.
Read served in WWII after high school in 1940. He later worked as a gas station attendant and janitor at a department store, Reuters reports. Eventually, he got married and had children.
In his later years, Read became a regular at the Brattleboro Memorial Hospital cafe. It was his one splurge.
“He always had a cup of coffee and and English muffin with peanut butter. That was it,” said friend Ellen Smith.
Friends say Read never spent money unnecessarily.
“You’d never know the man was a millionaire,” his lawyer Laurie Rowell told Reuters. “The last time he came here, he parked far away in a spot where there were no meters so he could save the coins.”
Read made most of his money in the stock market.
“Mr. Read owned at least 95 stocks at the time of his death, many of which he had held for years, if not decades,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
The hospital and library are both using the money to improve their operations. They’re also taking a leaf out of Read’s book by investing some of the money to make it last.