McKenney Booker Education Trust
The Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund (BASAF) is the sole beneficiary of the Marion McKenney & Emery W. Booker Education Trust (McKenney Booker Trust), a trust established under the Will of Emery W. Booker. Countless individuals, and the communities of the Brunswick area as a whole, have benefited from the generosity of Marion McKenney and Emery Booker.
Annual funding from the McKenney Booker Trust represents the largest source of BASAF’s revenue available for scholarship disbursement. While the McKenney Booker Trust and BASAF share common goals, they are two legally separate organizations; the Trustees of the McKenney Booker Trust are independent of the BASAF Board of Directors.
Marion was a career educator in the Brunswick School System for more than 50 years. She was primarily a business teacher at Brunswick High School, but she also served as assistant principal and acting principal at the school. After her retirement, she continued to serve as a substitute teacher and also worked in the school office.
Marion was born August 8, 1898 in Richmond. A graduate of Richmond High School, Marion also graduated from the Maine School of Commerce and Simmons College in Boston. She was a member of the Richmond and Bowdoinham Orders of the Eastern Star, the National Retired Teachers Association and Delta Kappa Gamma.
Marion was a Founding Member of the Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund. The minutes of the Fund’s initial meeting, dated May 9, 1956, state, “Miss McKenney served coffee while the Board members were arriving and being introduced.” In the early years of the Fund, Marion did a lot more than serve coffee; she was a member of BASAF’s Board of Directors and served as BASAF’s Treasurer for 25 years.
Emery W. Booker had a 15 to 20 year courtship with Marion McKenney, culminating with their long and happy marriage.
Emery W. Booker, born June 21, 1899 in Brunswick, was a banker, real estate agent and antique collector. He graduated from Brunswick High School in 1919 and worked for two years at the Brunswick Post Office on Maine Street. In 1921, Emery joined the First National Bank of Brunswick as a cashier and retired in 1964 as Vice President of Maine National Bank.
A Director of the First Brunswick Federal Savings and Loan for over 50 years, Emery was elected Treasurer in 1933, President in 1957, and Chair of the Board in 1977 – a position he still held at the time of his death.
Two historical landmarks were owned by Emery; the former Walker Homestead in Topsham and the Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain House in Brunswick. He also owned a horse training farm on Rossmore Road at the home site of Matthew Thornton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Emery was a popular local historian and gave many lectures on the early history of the area with his friend John Baxter. Emery was also known to pick up his banjo and sing ballads about legendary Brunswick characters. Campbell B. Niven, who served with Emery on the Brunswick Federal Savings Board for nearly 20 years, said of him, “He had a great love of history. It is that area in which he will be most sorely missed. He was a walking encyclopedia of information about Brunswick.”
Marion passed away on March 9, 1982, and Emery died later that year on September 18. At the time of Emery’s death, his friend John Baxter said of him, “He was very loveable, he was interested in everybody, and he was helpful to people. He was helpful to anybody who needed advice and probably even financial help.” Campbell Niven added, “All of Emery’s activities reflected an enormous interest in his community.”
The creation of a trust in support of BASAF by Emery Booker and Marion McKenney exemplified their commitment to help others and support the community. Graduates of Brunswick and Mt. Ararat High Schools will be the beneficiaries of their generosity for many generations to come.