Frugal Carpenter Saves Up His Money To Give Scholarships To 33 Strangers

Dale Schroeder was an Iowa native who never went to college, got married, or had children. However, what he did do at the end of his life was nothing short of incredible.

Born one hundred years ago, Dale worked for 67 years as a carpenter at the same business in Des Moines. During that time, Dale was a quiet man who lived frugally while putting the bulk of his money away. When he finally retired, Dale decided to use the money that he had saved up to help his community, so he consulted with lawyer Steve Nielsen on how he could make that happen.

“Finally, I kind of was curious,” Steve recalled. “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.”

As someone who grew up poor, Dale never had the money to go to college, so he wanted to give “free rides” to Iowa kids who had good grades but did not have the means to pay for school.

“He wanted to help kids that were like him, who wouldn’t probably have an opportunity to go to college, but for this gift,” Steve said.

Dale passed away in 2005, and since then, his scholarships have funded the college dreams of 33 people. Recently, his scholarship recipients got together to honor Dale and all that he did for them. The scholarship recipients sat his old lunch box on a table to represent him as they shared stories of where they are now and what they’ve accomplished.

Dale may never have had his own biological children, but the scholarship recipients like to refer to themselves as “Dale’s kids,” and that would undoubtedly make him very proud.


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