Dennis Valstad owned a dry cleaners in Ripon, Wisconsin for most of his life and was a very quiet man. He never married and how no known family, so when he passed away at age 69 he didn’t expect much of a turnout at his funeral. But 275 neighbors did show up to pay their respects. His friend Don was also executor of his will said that Dennis would have been thrilled! He always wanted to be a good neighbor and have an impact on Ripon. Don said he found Dennis's hand written New Years resolutions and for the last decade or so they were the same. "Live a life that's pleasing to God. Find true friends. Be a blessing to my neighbors".
Valstad seemed to be a man of modest means, but over his 69 years, he amassed a small fortune and with no family to leave it to, he left unique instructions for handling his estate. Anyone who attended the funeral for the local dry cleaner was probably surprised to get a letter from his attorney, but what was inside was even more of a shock. His will explains that his $500,000 was to be divided equally among the people who went to his funeral. Now anyone who attended will get about $1,800 from Valstad’s half-million dollar estate just for coming to pay their respects.