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Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Poor" Woman Gives Nearly $2 Million to the Poor

The Modesto Bee and ABC News reports that a “poor” woman left nearly $2 million dollars to the Salvation Army to care for the poor and the homeless in Modesto, CA.

Elinor Sauerwein (photo) was taught by her mother to never waste a thing. She never purchased a dryer, hanging her laundry on a clothesline in the backyard. She painted her home when it needed a touch-up and mowed her own lawn until she reached her early 90s. She refused to go to restaurants, the movies or pay for cable TV. It could be said she took frugality to a whole new level.

Needless to say, it was a shock when a check for $1,731,533.91 from the estate of Elinor Sauerwein was presented to the Salvation Army this past Christmas Eve.

John Bullock who took care of her affairs commented, "She said every dollar I save is another dollar that could go to the Salvation Army. Her goal for years and years was to amass as much as she could so it would go to the Salvation Army," Bullock told ABC News. "She did an excellent job at it."

Elinor Sauerwein grew her own fruits and vegetables in a small, meager backyard, and even at the age of 90 would climb to the top of a ladder to pick from the trees. The extreme frugality certainly paid off: At the time of her death, Sauerwein had amassed almost $2 million in savings.

"Most people around her thought she was poor. However, Sauerwin's friends knew she had money, but they just didn't know how much," Bullock told ABC News.

In the late 1930s, after Elinor graduated from college, she taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Crookston, Neb., traveling to her job on horseback. When she arrived, she'd light a fire to warm the room for the schoolchildren, teach, clean the room and hop back on her horse for the ride home.

She soon met her husband, Harold, and they married in 1945 and moved to California, settling in Modesto, where Sauerwein cooked for ranch hands on the ranch where her husband found a job. She later worked at LM Morris business machines, according to the Modesto Bee.
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