Myron Newberger and four others (plaintiffs) were employees of Avnet, Inc. Avnet family members were Avnet, Inc.’s primary shareholders. In 1962, Lester and Robert Avnet granted the plaintiffs stock options from the Avnets’ personal shares. The stock options were written out, signed, and given to the plaintiffs. The stock options set forth a schedule under which the plaintiffs could exercise their options for all the promised shares after five years. Robert Avnet died two years after granting the stock options. Three years later, the plaintiffs, still Avnet, Inc. employees, attempted to exercise their options. When the executors of Robert Avnet’s estate did not award the stock options to the plaintiffs, the plaintiffs filed suit against Robert Rifkind, the other executors, and Robert Avnet’s widow (defendants). The trial court ruled in favor of the defendants. The plaintiffs appealed.