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W&L Alum's Key Role in Frugal Millionaire Story

Washington and Lee alumni from the late ’60s and early ’70s who are careful viewers of ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” might have seen a familiar face there on June 9: Guy Glenn ’67, ’71L. He was interviewed for a story about the frugal millionaire Verna Oller, who left $4.5 million to her hometown of Long Beach, Wash.

Guy has his own law firm in Long Beach, and a part of his practice involves estate planning. He was Oller’s attorney and, according to stories following her death, one of the few people who knew the extent of her wealth. As the Seattle Times told the story, Oiler was known for her frugality — clipping coupons and never paying to have her hair done — but no one expected the legacy she left.

Oller died in May at age 98. In her will, she donated $500,000 to a public-school endowment and another $500,000 to a foundation to be used for student scholarships and grants to teachers. The rest went to build an indoor swimming pool in the city of Long Beach.

What Guy and his wife, Carolyn, knew— and other residents of Long Beach didn’t — was that Oller was a savvy investor who picked her own stocks and, apparently, made a killing. According to Guy’s comments in the Seattle Times, she was a total equity investor. She did research in the public library, and she’d “borrow” Guy’s Wall Street Journal when he was finished with it.

In more than a typical attorney-client relationship, Guy and his family were among Oller’s closest friends, according to the media reports. When she died she wanted neither funeral nor obituary. As Guy told the Seattle Times, “She said that all cost money, and she didn’t want anybody to feel like they had to do anything for her.” Guy wrote a death notice for his friend anyway.

You can see the ABC News interview with Guy and Carolyn by clicking on the link below:

Frugal Millionaire Leaves Fortune to Home Town.

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