Carpenter Lived Frugally And Saved Up Nearly $3 Million To Fund College For 33 Students

Carpenter Lived Frugally And Saved Up Nearly $3 Million To Fund College For 33 Students

Dale Schroeder owned two pairs of jeans an old rusty truck, and a dream to help students get a college education that he couldn't get.

Image Source: Getty Images/JenniferPhotographyImaging (Representative)

A man named Dale Schroeder led a rather simple life working as a carpenter in Des Moines, Iowa. All he owned was two pairs of jeans (a pair for work and one for church), an old rusty truck, and a dream to help students get a college education. Schroeder, who reportedly grew up poor, never went to college himself but always wished to help kids residing in a small town like Iowa to attend college. "He was that kind of a blue-collar, lunch pail kind of a guy," said his friend Steve Nielsen. "Went to work every day, worked really hard, was frugal like a lot of Iowans."


Schroeder worked at the same business for 67 years, used a rusty Chevrolet truck, and never got married. So when he died in 2005 there were no descendants to pass on his wealth but to strangers, he desired to help wholeheartedly. The generous and hardworking man, who was born 100 years ago, saved up a fortune of nearly $3 million through his almost 70 years of carpentry work and frugal living. Around the time of his retirement, Schroeder decided to deposit the money in a bank to help his community, and to assist him to achieve this purpose, he consulted Nielsen who was also his attorney.


"Finally, I kind of was curious," Nielsen told KCCI News. "I asked him, ‘How much are we talking about, Dale?’ And he said, ‘Oh, just shy of three million dollars’ and I nearly fell out of my chair. Schroeder didn't get a chance to go to college and so he wanted to give "free rides" to Iowa kids who had the grades but did not have the money to pursue further education. "He wanted to help kids that were like him that probably wouldn't have an opportunity to go to college but for his gift," said Nielson. Most of his savings went into a  scholarship fund when ended up helping 33 students to achieve a college education free of cost. 


These students never got a chance to meet the man who turned their lives around and so recently, 14 years after Schroeder's death, these people gathered around his old lunch box and shared how his generous donation helped make a difference in their lives. Among this group of people, who now refer themselves as "Dale's Kids," was Kira Conard who never thought she would be attending college. Just as she was about to tell her peers about not attending college during her high school graduation party, she received a call. 


Conard, who has the grades but not the financial requirements, was over the moon when she learned about Dale Schroeder. "I broke down into tears immediately," recalled Conard of the moment and the generosity of a man she had never met. Now the young woman is completing her graduation debt-free. Conard is all set to begin her career as a therapist and we are sure Schroeder would have been very proud of her. All of Schroeder's kids shared their own stories with the old man's lunch box sitting on the table as if he was there to proudly hear the success tales of his "kids" who shared their achievements with the group. 


While Dale's kids completed college without any financial burden, there was one thing that the man wanted from the students he helped, "All we ask is that you pay it forward," said Nielsen. "You can't pay it back, because Dale's gone, but you can remember him, and you can emulate him," he said according to ABC7

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