Lifelong Saver Dies; Leaves $250,000 In Banks Across U.S.
LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ A former bank employee and postal worker who pinched pennies by living in YMCAs and spending as little as $6 a day on food died with $249,746 in eight banks across the country and no apparent heirs.
Howard Thomas Drummond’s $49-a-week room at the Lansing YMCA had no bathroom, and he bought three $1.99 breakfasts each morning, saving two of them in a knapsack for later meals, those who knew him recalled.
While his raggedy clothes and miserly way of life kept his wealth secret, Drummond apparently attended to his fortune, said Paul Rosenbaum, the state- appointed lawyer handling Drummond’s estate.
Rosenbaum said Drummond, who was 77 when he died Jan. 28 in Sparrow Hospital after suffering a stroke, has no known family, and unless relatives are found, his money will go to Michigan’s general fund.
″To my knowledge he just wanted to live his life and be left alone,″ Darnelle Jones, room manager at the YMCA, told the Lansing State Journal in Sunday’s editions. ″I think there were people that looked at him and said, ‘That’s too bad.’ He said, ’I’m fine.‴
″It looked like he came right out of the 1930s,″ said Vern Wright, who works at the post office where Drummond had a post box. ″And that old hat he wore must have been 30 years old. He was trying to wear it out.″
Wright said postal workers always suspected Drummond had money somewhere because they noticed mail from banks, and subscriptions to Psychology Today, The Saturday Evening Post and Foreign Affairs.
Other Lansing residents who knew of Drummond said he bought two newspapers and always read the stock tables.
According to notes found by Rosenbaum, Drummond held a job in a bank in Pasadena, Calif., until being drafted in 1942. He was honorably discharged from the Army in 1946 and returned to the bank, where he was fired in 1956 after being accused of stealing tape and other items, according to the notes.
Rosenbaum said Drummond was hired by the U.S. Postal Service and remained in Pasadena until he retired in 1973.
He later moved to Denver, where he stayed until 1981, working in the YMCA membership office. Then he began roaming the East Coast, from YMCA to YMCA, opening up bank accounts along the way. In Denver he left $67,074.57 when he died, and more than $23,000 in Boston, Rosenbaum said.
By the time he died, he was earning more than $20,000 a year in interest and government pensions.
Rosenbaum is searching for relatives, as well as other bank or brokerage accounts across the nation. He said there may be more money in undiscovered accounts.