SECRET MILLIONAIRE: Seattle Man Lived Frugally

Posted on: 1:36 pm, December 3, 2013, by

macdonald_rupert

(CNN) — Born on May 5, 1915, Jack Rupert MacDonald was of a different era — one that lived on less. When he passed away on September 13, leaving $187.6 million to two charities and a university, it was clear that MacDonald was living on much less.

And thanks to his generosity, Seattle Children’s Hospital, University of Washington School of Law, and the Salvation Army are now much richer than they were before.

Yearly income from MacDonald’s trust will be divided between the three, with 40% going to Seattle Children’s, 30% to the law school and the remaining 30% to the Salvation Army. University of Washington President Michael K. Young confirmed in a statement that MacDonald’s donation was the largest in the school’s history.

But why did McDonald do it?

MacDonald lived a full life. Born in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, he relocated with his family to Seattle when he was 3 years old. He attended the University of Washington and its law school, then joined the Army for three years, according to his obituary — which he penned three years prior to his death with the help of stepdaughter Regan Dennis.

After his time in the service, he spent three decades as an attorney for the Veterans Administration in Seattle.

A “self-admittedly eccentric” man, he clipped coupons and lived frugally all his life, but made a hobby of the stock market and donated to hundreds of causes throughout his lifetime. He married Mary Katherine Moore, who “brightened his life with joy and adventure,” in 1971 and traveled all over the world with her.

At his request, he did not have a memorial service, but preferred to save the money to go toward his final charitable donation. He has been buried in his family plot in Ontario, Canada.

Dennis told HLN affiliate KCPQ that the family always knew about her stepfather’s fortune, but they kept it quiet for more than 40 years.

“He was quirky in many ways, and always stayed true to himself by acting on his convictions to do the most good with his wealth,” she said.