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Elinor Sauerwein, 96-Year-Old Millionaire, Lived Poor And Quietly Donated $1.7 Million

First Posted: 01/31/2012 10:03 am Updated: 01/31/2012 11:32 am

Elinor Sauerwein

After one vacation in 96 years and finally trying cable television at age 95, Elinor Sauerwein died with a reputation of steadfast frugality.

So when people found out the Modesto, Calif., woman gave $1.7 million to the Salvation Army in Modesto, they were a bit stunned, ABC reported.

"Oh I stared at it for awhile," Salvation Army Modesto Capt. Michael Paugh told the news source, "then I took a picture of it with my phone."

Sauerwein and her husband were quiet millionaires, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"She didn't spend money on anything she didn't absolutely have to. She lived as if she was a poor person," John Bullock, her financial advisor, told the Times.

Half the money will go to the Modesto Salvation Army's endowment fund, and the other half will go toward projects such as new shelters.

Inspired by Sauerwein? Check out volunteer and donation opportunities with the Salvation Army here.

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Filed by Emily Heinz  |