Mechanic leaves Denfeld $3.2 million
Denfeld High School's sizeable scholarship endowment just got bigger, thanks to a gift from a thrifty auto mechanic. Armond H. Hauge, a 1946 graduate of Denfeld who died in 2006, left his alma mater $3.2 million to supply post-secondary scholarsh...
Denfeld High School's sizeable scholarship endowment just got bigger, thanks to a gift from a thrifty auto mechanic.
Armond H. Hauge, a 1946 graduate of Denfeld who died in 2006, left his alma mater $3.2 million to supply post-secondary scholarships for students. The donation, combined with past financial gifts from other Denfeld alumni, further solidifies the school's reputation for having an unusually deep pool of scholarship money for its graduates.
Hauge, who worked as a mechanic at Ryland Ford in Duluth, earned his fortune by being a diligent saver, said his niece, Julie Netzel.
"From the time he was a youngster, he taught himself to live on half a paycheck and save the rest. ... That's where his investments came from," Netzel said. She added that it wasn't surprising to learn her uncle wanted to leave money to his alma mater.
"Education was a big thing for him. He wanted to help kids because he never had any of his own and never got married," Netzel said. "He really wanted kids to get scholarships that otherwise couldn't afford school."
The school learned of the donation through Hauge's attorney last spring.
"I continue to be impressed by the number of Denfeld graduates that have such a strong allegiance to this school and give back," said Denfeld Principal Ed Crawford. "Denfeld High School is probably one of the few schools in the state and possibly the country with this kind of endowment."
Other sizeable scholarship funds available for Denfeld students include the Marie V. Saltwick Scholarship -- which began with a $2.5 million gift -- and the Jack Moon scholarship, a $4.5 million gift.
"Between all of the money left by graduates, I think we are pushing 16 to 17 million [dollars]," said Bill Westholm, chair of the Greater Denfeld Foundation, the organization charged with managing the Hauge gift. "On behalf of the Greater Denfeld Foundation ... it is very gratifying to have alumni and others that care so much about young people that they contribute these kinds of things to the students."
Details about eligibility for the scholarship and the amount that students will receive are still being worked out, but the Greater Denfeld Foundation intends to start awarding scholarships this spring, Westholm said.
Ruth Hauge, Armond's sister-in-law, said his family was surprised to learn of his wealth. He lived in an apartment in an old building he owned, drove a Ford Ranger pickup and didn't spend money on lavish items.
"He didn't live high off the hog or anything; he just lived like a normal person. That's why we were all surprised that he had this money," Ruth Hauge said.
Ruth Hauge said Armond kept largely to himself while he was alive and spent his days working and most nights at home, unless he stopped off at a nearby tavern for an hour or so. "He just had this plain job like everybody else and lived quietly and modestly."
He did work hard though. Netzel said he got his first job as a delivery boy for the Duluth News Tribune when he was 6 years old. He was awarded with a bike from the company when he turned 11 for never missing a day of work.
Armond died at home with family in December 2006 at the age of 81.
"As long as this school exists there will be people benefiting from the kindness of these graduates; that's a pretty unique and wonderful thing," Westholm said.
SARAH HORNER covers K-12 education. She can be reached weekdays at (218) 723-5342 or by e-mail at email@example.com .