Another inspiring story of a childless person whose legacy has changed lives

By Nina Steele 

Will writingDale Schroeder died in 2005 at the age of 86. He was from Iowa in the US. He never married and had no children. He lived frugally throughout his life and was said to have only owned two pairs of jeans. He worked as a carpenter for 67 years. What people who knew him didn’t realise was that living frugally had allowed him to save close to $3 million. Upon his death, it was revealed that he wanted his money to go toward paying the university fees of young people from poor backgrounds.

His legacy helped send 33 young people to university. Some of them are now doctors and teachers. They call themselves “Dale’s kids” and are understandably immensely grateful to have been given the chance of a lifetime by a man they never got to meet.

The reason why Dale Schroeder wanted to specifically help young people from poor backgrounds was because he grew up poor himself and for that reason, never got the chance to go to university. Before he died, he said this to a friend: “I never got the opportunity to go to college. So, I’d like to help kids go to college”.

I came across his story on Facebook and predictably, people were surprised at both his frugality and the amount of money he managed to save. Opinions were divided. Some people were of the argument that ‘you live once’ and so believed he should have enjoyed his life more, while others supported his choice to live his life the way he did.

I love stories like these because they encourage people to live their lives with courage, as opposed to just following the crowd. His story and other similar ones are a welcome change from the usual stories about babies and consumerism relentlessly covered by the media.

All the signs are that this man was content with his life even though it didn’t mirror that of the majority of the people around him. To live like this, you need courage, and he obviously had it aplenty. Wherever you look, the message is the same. We are told that to be happy, we need to have what everyone else has. It takes a lot of courage to go in the opposite direction to where the rest of the mainstream is headed.

Dale Schroeder’s legacy is now being talked about and will be remembered for many years to come. Those people whose lives he has changed for ever will make sure of that. One of the recipients recounted how she “broke down in tears” when she got the call to inform her that she had been chosen as one of the lucky 33. She went on to say: “For a man that would never meet me to give me basically a full ride to college. That’s incredible”.

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