Frugal carpenter's $3 million gift has sent 33 kids to college

DES MOINES, Iowa — A frugal and generous carpenter who scrimped and saved his entire life left a fortune that had helped pay the college tuition for 33 strangers.

Dale Schroeder died in 2005 with no descendants. He left behind a pair of work jeans, a pair of church jeans, a rusty Chevrolet truck and $3 million with instructions to use the money to send poor, small-town kids to college, KCCI reported.

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"He was that kind of a blue-collar, lunch pail kind of a guy. Went to work every day, worked really hard, was frugal like a lot of Iowans," friend Steve Nielsen told KCCI. "He wanted to help kids that were like him that probably wouldn't have an opportunity to go to college but for his gift."

Schroeder worked as a carpenter at the same company for 67 years and did not get to attend college.

The 33 recipients recently gathered around Schroeder’s old lunch box to talk about how becoming one of Dales Kids affected their life.

Kira Conrad had the grades, but not the finances to go to college.

"I broke down into tears immediately," Conrad told KCCI. "For a man that would never meet me to give me basically a full ride to college, that's incredible. That doesn't happen."