Verna Oller was a proud cheapskate to the very end of her 98 years -- and the children of Long Beach, Wash., will forever be grateful.
Oller, who cut her own hair, bought only thrift store clothes and refused to purchase even shoelaces, parlayed her tightness with a dollar into an act of generosity that the country is quickly learning about. The sassy former fish filleter amassed $4.5 million through savvy stock picks -- and she donated all of it to her town so it could build the swimming pool she never had as a kid. She also had some left over for scholarships and teaching grants.
"I think we could all learn a lot from her," nursing home owner Andrea Nooman said in a segment aired on ABC News. "She was very simple but very kind and giving."
Nobody knew Oller's knack for playing the market except for her friends, Carolyn and Guy Glenn, whom she entrusted to carry out her wish. Guy said she read Barrons and the Wall Street Journal voraciously.
In 2007 footage from the two-minute video, Oller urges the Glenns' son to buy AT&T stock, bragging about her large return. Apparently she had plenty of other profitable ideas as well. Not bad for a small-town gal with no formal education.
Long Beach, population 1,300, would have received more but Oller's portfolio took a $500,000 hit during the recession, according to the ABC story. That will be long forgotten when the first kid splashes into the community pool.
Verna Oller, little old lady and secret stock picker, leaves small town $4.5 million