Anthony and Louis Maglione were inseparable, and the brothers shared three passions: rooting for the Red Sox, investing in stocks, and watching their favorite shows on WGBH.
The Sox thrilled them, but more frequently, I’m guessing, broke their hearts. They made a small fortune buying blue-chip stocks. And now that they have died and their financial affairs are settled, all their savings — $6 million between them — are going to the Boston public media outlet now known as GBH.
GBH said on Wednesday that the brothers, working-class guys from Malden who lived their whole lives in the three-family house where they grew up, are responsible for the organization’s biggest unrestricted gift ever.
That’s a ton of tote bags.
“They loved the simple things in life,” said Linda Giallongo, who became friends with the brothers through their parents, Rocco and Rita. “Being at home, a good meal, their friends. They were always together. They were best friends.”
And they were lifelong GBH viewers who especially liked documentaries, including those featured on “American Experience.”
Louis, the younger of the two, died in November 2019 at 67. He left everything to Anthony, who died in March 2021 at age 70. The brothers never married or had children. Anthony, having discussed the plan with Louis, bequeathed their savings to GBH, including $1.5 million from Louis.
Louis was a voracious reader who volunteered as a self-taught historian at the Malden Public Library.
“He always a carried a dictionary in case he didn’t know a word,” Giallongo recalled.
After graduating from Boston’s Don Bosco Technical High School, where he was a track star, Louis went into the US Air Force during the Vietnam War, serving stateside and rising to the rank of second lieutenant. He went to Lowell State College and later joined the Veterans Administration in Jamaica Plain, where he worked until his retirement.
Anthony was the DIY investor who shared his advice freely and whose enthusiasm for stock-picking rubbed off on his brother.
“He bought conservative, dividend-paying stocks like Gillette, General Mills, and the telephone company,” said John McLaughlin, a partner at law firm Berluti McLaughlin & Kutchin, who handled Anthony’s estate. “He didn’t buy any high-flying stocks.”
In that regard, Anthony differed from Edward Avedisian, another local amateur investor who scored big and donated $100 million to his alma mater, Boston University, shortly before his death last year. Avedisian, a retired clarinetist with the Boston Pops, supercharged his profits with risky strategies such as betting on stock options and using borrowed money to increase his holdings.
Anthony Maglione, a 1968 graduate of Malden High School, worked at Gillette in Andover for 25 years. Like his brother, he was a frequent fan at Fenway Park, and his knowledge of the Olde Towne Team was encyclopedic, said Giallongo, the family friend.
At GBH, Anthony’s decision to donate almost everything he and his brother had saved — a few small bequests went to others — came out of the blue.
“We were bowled over by the generosity of these two men,” said Susan Goldberg, chief executive of GBH. “They had been pledge donors. We are honored by the trust placed in us.”
Goldberg said GBH will steer the unrestricted gift to bolster its efforts in three areas: community outreach, including events and programming at its studio at the Boston Public Library’s main branch; content distribution; and GBH News’ push into digital platforms such as YouTube.
The largest restricted gift in GBH history was $16 million from the Mellon Foundation to support the American Archive of Public Broadcasting, a collaboration with the Library of Congress.
The Maglione brothers loved life and lived it modestly, even as their wealth grew. One of their favorite events was Eddie Andelman’s Annual Hot Dog Safari, a fund-raiser for cystic fibrosis research and patient support.
“I’ve never seen somebody of such modest means accumulate all that wealth and give it all away,” McLaughlin, who has been a lawyer for 40 years, said of the brothers. “It’s the simplicity that makes it such a compelling story.”