ABOUT WILLIAM DEMAYO (1921-2014)

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William ‘Bill’ DeMayo began his career as a field examiner for the IRS and is a retired partner of Ernst & Young. Turning attention to education, he then became a full professor at the University of New Haven, Connecticut, where he also served as Treasurer and a Planned Giving Officer.

He served and was honored by numerous professional associations devoted to taxation, financial management, and estate planning. Bill was a graduate of the Wharton School, held an M.B.A. in taxation, and was a C.P.A.

Bill served on Return to Freedom’s Board of Directors, as well as the organization’s Planned Giving Officer for eight years. He referred to his life at RTF for the past 16 years as the most rewarding of his life. Bill passed away on May 4, 2014, at the age of 93.

On May 4, 2014, my family and I said goodbye to my father, Bill DeMayo, who leaves a legacy of joy and brotherhood, love and perseverance.

My father left elegantly and gracefully and on his own terms. He never complained and was positive and kind every moment until his last breath.

My father supported my dream and passion to create Return to Freedom because he loved and believed in me… at first he thought he was simply supporting me and joined the Board lending his strong expertise in estate planning and tax accounting. But he later realized that it was the most fulfilling part of his life. He loved the visitors, the beauty of the horses and the ranch, and sharing his last 17 years with his family in this endeavor.

Although we ache to see him and his twinkling eyes- he is present and his memory reminds us to enjoy each and every moment… and each other. He loved humanity, his family and friends.

My family and I, and the many friends he gained along the way, will be filled forever with gratitude and admiration for who he was and how he lived his life. We love and honor him and we celebrate his return to freedom.

For those who knew my father, or even those who have been moved by the work he helped to make possible, we have created the Bill DeMayo Legacy Fund in his memory. These funds will be earmarked for an endowment account to help protect and sustain the future of Return to Freedom. —Neda DeMayo

Pictures of William DeMayo, his family and friends...

MY CHARMED LIFE — BY BILL DEMAYO
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A letter from William DeMayo, written in 2004, updated January 2014

As I look back over my 93 years, I realize that my charmed life is a testament to sharing and the happiness it brings.

When I completed my tour of duty as a bombardier in WWII, the United States government made it possible for me to obtain my college degree through the G.I. Bill. This remains one of our country’s most inspired gifts ever offered to war veterans, and it has enriched us both immeasurably.

Working as an estate planner I began to understand how parents could provide financial gifts to their children and then disperse those gifts during their lifetimes. In this way, parents could enable their children to obtain the benefits of their future inheritance, and live to see and experience how their gifts are used and cultivated.
I decided to practice what I was preaching. Through the years, Stella and I made annual contributions to our daughters’ securities account. In 1998, we, as a family, decided to sell our securities in order to purchase a 300 acre ranch in south-central California. This ranch serves the aims and purposes of our entire family.

The ranch was the answer to Neda’s lifelong dream to create a wild horse sanctuary that she now operates and calls “Return to Freedom”. Stella and I enjoy our retirement home on the property.

Our daughter Diana enjoys the ranch as a vacation retreat where she brings her young son and her husband to commune with nature and with us.

At Return to Freedom we share our home and lives with our children, our grandson and with over 300 wild mustangs that might otherwise have been abandoned, abused or slaughtered. Our days are enriched by the volunteers, educators and visitors who come to enjoy and learn about these beautiful animals. We delight in the children that come to participate in the numerous youth programs that are conducted each year. And we take great pride in the model sanctuary that Neda has created where wild horses are saved while keeping their herd bands in tact, that they may enjoy their family as God intended.

My life is fuller and richer by virtue of what I have shared. And I take immense pride as I watch my daughters share their gifts with others.

Yes, my life is charmed, indeed.

READ BILL’S LETTER TO FRIENDS

As I look back over my 93 years, I realize that my charmed life is a testament to sharing and the happiness it brings.

When I completed my tour of duty as a bombardier in WWII, the United States government made it possible for me to obtain my college degree through the G.I. Bill. This remains one of our country’s most inspired gifts ever offered to war veterans, and it has enriched us both immeasurably.

Working as an estate planner I began to understand how parents could provide financial gifts to their children and then disperse those gifts during their lifetimes. In this way, parents could enable their children to obtain the benefits of their future inheritance, and live to see and experience how their gifts are used and cultivated.

I decided to practice what I was preaching. Through the years, Stella and I made annual contributions to our daughters’ securities account. In 1998, we, as a family, decided to sell our securities in order to purchase a 300 acre ranch in south-central California. This ranch serves the aims and purposes of our entire family.

The ranch was the answer to Neda’s lifelong dream to create a wild horse sanctuary that she now operates and calls “Return to Freedom”. Stella and I enjoy our retirement home on the property. Our daughter Diana enjoys the ranch as a vacation retreat where she brings her young son and her husband to commune with nature and with us.

At Return to Freedom we share our home and lives with our children, our grandson, and with almost 300 wild mustangs that might otherwise have been abandoned, abused, or slaughtered. Our days are enriched by the volunteers, educators, and visitors who come to enjoy and learn about these beautiful animals.

We delight in the children that come to participate in the numerous youth programs that are conducted each year. And we take great pride in the model sanctuary that Neda has created where wild horses are saved while keeping their herd and groups in tact, that they may enjoy their family as God intended.

My life is fuller and richer by virtue of what I have shared. And I take immense pride as I watch my daughters share their gifts with others.

Yes, my life is charmed, indeed.

Did you know?We have Return to Freedom masks!

Peekaboo Masks is donating 35% of its sales from limited-edition masks that feature the wild horses and burros at our American Wild Horse Sanctuary.