Back in the day Walt Disney had a large house and needed a housekeeper, and his whole family really adored her. This resulted in Walt Disney periodically paying her with stocks on special occasions, at the time these stocks were not really worth anything but pennies.
But by the time she was in her 70s the stocks were worth millions. Thelma Pearl Howard may not ring any bells to many but for the famous animator she played an important part of his life. So much so that even though she came from a background of poverty and misfortune, she ends up dying as a secret millionaire.
She was worth over 9 million dollars when she died, though the maid never did flaunt her wealth. Which meant most people even her close friends and family had no idea about her immense riches.
The reason many suspect Howard kept everything a secret is because she came from a background of great tragedy. Her mother died at a very early age and it fell to her to up bring her siblings. And then perhaps even worse by the age of 20 two of her siblings had also passed away.
Originally she attempted to make a better living for herself by attending college however she found the tuition fees too much and had to drop out. This is how she ended up working as a housekeeper for the Walt family. As she was required to live in their great mansion, she had an impact of the Walt family life. We can only imagine how big the Walt mansion would have looked for an Idaho native.
And it seems this impact was very meaningful for Walt as he ended up giving her multiple gifts in stocks. The key was that Howard was able to connect with their children.