A Penny Saved. . .

By Liana Loewus — February 06, 2009 1 min read
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A retired Cleveland math teacher who recently died at age 93, and whose annual salary never exceeded $40,000, has left over $2 million to her college alma mater, reports The Plain Dealer.

A frugal spender who was never married and had no heirs, Laura Bickimer accumulated some of the money from her inheritance and saved the rest by living modestly. When answering an alumni survey for Baldwin-Wallace College, the beneficiary of Bickimer’s fortune, she once stated that she preferred to wash her clothes in an old-fashioned wringer. “I have discovered that one’s life can be quite simple and unspectacular, yet full and worthwhile!” she wrote.

“This was a lady who had the money and chose not to spend it,” said Thomas Konkoly, director of development for gift planning at B-W.

Even Bickimer didn’t realize how much money she had until meeting with college fund-raisers a few years ago, remembers Konkoly. “My goodness, I’m a millionaire,” she marveled, upon seeing her net worth.

Bickimer retired from teaching in 1972, having worked at three different schools in Cleveland. When asked about her retirement in a B-W questionnaire, she wrote, “I try each day to do some act of kindness or have some thoughtful communication that will bring happiness or perhaps enlightenment or solace to someone.” The college plans to dedicate a math classroom to Bickimer and create a $50,000 scholarship in her name.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.