Nearly 70 years ago, a young Russ Gremel decided to buy about $1,000 worth of stock in a Chicago-based pharmacy chain.
He figured people would always need medicine and women would always buy makeup. He planned to hold onto that stock for a long time, as an investment.
As Gremel grew older, that pharmacy chain, Walgreens, grew exponentially. By the time Gremel hit his late 90s, the stock was worth more than $2 million.
Still, he didn’t cash out. Instead, the now 98-year-old Chicagoan donated the stock to the Illinois Audubon Society, which is using it to help establish a nearly 400-acre wildlife refuge near Dixon and Amboy that will be dedicated in his name Sunday.
Gremel, who’s lived in the same Jefferson Park brick bungalow for nearly 95 years, said he didn’t need the money for himself.
“I’m a very simple man,” said Gremel as he smoked a pipe on his front porch Thursday, …