In 1951 Thelma Howard was hired as a maid for Walt & Lillian Disney. Walt would gift her shares of Disney stock every Christmas for the next 30 yrs. She died in 1994 that’s when it was discovered she still had all 192,000 shares valued at $9,000,000. It went to disadvantaged kids & her disabled son

Saving Grace

LAST JUNE, JUST 16 DAYS SHY OF her 80th birthday, Thelma Howard died in a Santa Monica nursing home. When her will was read, there were two stunning surprises. The first was that Howard—who had worked as Walt Disney’s housekeeper for more than three decades—had amassed a $9.5 million fortune, mostly in Disney stocks. The second was that she had bequeathed half her estate to disadvantaged children, to be overseen by the newly formed Thelma Pearl Howard Foundation. “There had been so much pain and tragedy in my aunt’s life, I think she felt she missed being young,” says Howard’s niece Cheryl Wallace, of Lewiston, Idaho. “She wanted to give something back to children.”

The second of five children born into a poor Idaho farming family, Howa… Continue Reading