Born to Italian parents in March of 1917, Jess along with six siblings grew up in the “Little Italy” section of Millinocket, ME. He graduated from Stearns High School, where he was an outstanding student and athlete, and from Notre Dame (Class of 1942), where he was a member of the football team and boxing club. After college, Jess joined the U.S. Air Force and performed his duties as a drill instructor.
Helen Mauney was born in Shelby, North Carolina in July of 1923. She graduated from Shelby High School and the Women’s College at the University of North Carolina. While working in Greensboro, North Carolina, she met and married Jess.
After World War II, Jess began his teaching and coaching career at Higgins Classical Institute in Charleston, ME. From 1951-1963, he was employed first as a basketball coach & math teacher, eventually becoming Principal of Caribou High School. Along the way he earned his MS and CAS from the University of Maine. From 1963-1975, he was Principal of Brunswick High School, where he was known for his strict but fair discipline approach to education. He left the public sector in 1975 to join Olive and DeLois Associates as a partner, and retired in 1978.
Helen devoted her life to Jess, their six children (all graduates of Brunswick High School), her church and community. She worked for many years in the Brunswick School System, where she developed and ran the first Audio-Visual Department. Helen was a caregiver by nature, first in Caribou where she took in the children of working mothers, and later in Brunswick where she saw to the needs of the elderly, friends and the disenfranchised. She volunteered countless hours at the Brunswick Soup Kitchen and Saint Charles Church. Known for her hospitality and cooking skills, an invitation to share a meal with Helen was much sought after, but one which she gave generously and often.
Awards from this fund are based on student financial need, after which recipients are requested to be graduates of Brunswick High School.