Retired New Jersey Factory Worker Giving Away Millions


Registered User
Jan 26, 2005
MILLVILLE, N.J. (AP) -- The man who donated $1 million to southern New Jersey's Cumberland County College in December came by his riches the a hard way: by tons of work and savvy investing.

Paul Navone never went past eighth grade. He worked for 62 years, mostly in factories in southern New Jersey, and never earned more than $11 an hour. But by living modestly _ he has no television or phone _ he made enough to spare $1 million to give to the college.

And he's going to give an equal gift to another area school in January, he said.

Navone, 78, does not seem like the multimillionaire he is.

He drives an old SUV. When he calls bingo games at an area McDonald's, he comes dressed in clothes he bought at secondhand shops, except for "maybe the socks,'' he told The Press of Atlantic City.

The son of an Italian immigrant, he grew up poor in Vineland during the Great Depression. He got his first job, at a glass plant, at 16. He said the wages -- 75 cents an hour -- were so high he thought they were a mistake.

He kept working until he was drafted into the Army and served two years in Germany. When he returned, went back to work in the glass industry in Cumberland County.

His hours often ran to 60 hours a week.

Away from work, he says he was a loner.

He never married and aside from going to Florida once on behalf of his union and one bus trip to New Orleans, he never traveled far.

"I don't know when I buckled down and got serious about making money,'' Navone said. ``It just grew into my lifestyle. With age, it got more serious. I never denied myself anything, but I certainly never spent on something outstandingly lavish.''

He set aside money and invested it in stocks and bonds. Along the way, Navone also bought rental properties in Millville and Atlantic City.

He never owned more than three at a time, he said _ but the landlord business gave him enough money to pay his expenses. That left nearly all his factory wages to go into his stocks.

His fortune and his generosity has not change him, he said.

``I think I'm the same now as I've always been,'' he said.