Humboldt State University

Gift & Estate Planning

Felix and Shirley De Martis

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Felix and Shirley De Martis For Felix J. De Martis, attending college meant everything—except that he never got to go. Despite pleading with his father to let him pursue higher education, De Martis ended up working in a rag factory right out of high school to help support his Italian immigrant parents and six siblings. Finding a way to learn outside of the classroom, he later joined the Navy and went on to become an airplane mechanic, then a county appraiser.

It was only natural that De Martis would eventually meet and marry someone else with a passion for education. Shirley De Martis not only made it to college, she devoted her career to teaching English at the community college level as well as to high school students. Together they raised 7 children. "We made sure," Felix De Martis says proudly, "that every one of our children received a college education."

The De Martises may have retired from their careers, but not from their pursuit of lifelong learning. In fact, when they learned that HSU has a Charitable Gift Annuity program, they realized they could supplement their retirement income and help others achieve their dreams of a college education.

The De Martises quickly set up a Charitable Gift Annuity with HSU that provides them with a secure, fixed lifetime income—and more than half of each income payment is tax-free. The gift annuity was easy to establish: the couple made a contribution and entered into a simple written agreement with HSU. Additional benefits included income tax savings in the year the gift annuity was created and potential estate tax savings.

But what the De Martises like most about their gift annuity is that it will ultimately support HSU students, because at the end of their gift annuity, the remaining assets will be made available to support HSU's academic programs. "It's a reminder to us of how much we value education," explains Felix. "Our gift allows us to stay connected to HSU, an institution we admire for making a quality education accessible to all who desire it."

Although not alumni, the De Martis's relationship with HSU began with their gifts in memory of a friend, Norton Benner, MD, who worked to preserve the redwoods and introduced them to HSU's innovative redwood ecology programs. "We like what HSU is doing," Shirley says. "Our gift annuity allows us to be part of an ongoing effort to truly 'think globally and act locally.''