SALEM — David Nunez was only 38 when he died of a heart attack last year.
Nunez, who lived in Salem with his wife, Judith, and children Adam and Lilliana, grew up in Lawrence, where he was class president all four years at Greater Lawrence Technical School. Later, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, he was president of the Student Government Association.
Now his friends from Salem, Amherst and Lawrence are establishing the David R. Nunez scholarship at UMass Amherst. The scholarship will provide financial aid for UMass juniors and seniors who have demonstrated both commitment to community service and leadership.
Supporters are planning a fundraiser for the scholarship fund on Sunday at Murphy's Restaurant and Pub, 300 Derby St.
The goal is to raise $40,000 by March 26, which would have been Nunez's 40th birthday.
Both of his parents died young from heart attacks, and he was raised by his aunt, Genara Garcia.
"David was an amazing soul. He was my best friend for 14 years," his wife said. "He was the kind of person who would give you the shirt off his back. ...
"We thought a scholarship was the best thing because of his commitment to education."
While president of the student government, Nunez led fellow students on a 14-hour occupation of the admissions building opposing tuition increases during the spring of 1994 and eventually helped lead the push for a tuition freeze for 1995.
He also helped create a new constitution for the Student Government Association and expanded multicultural programs on campus.
At the time of his death, Nunez was a computer systems manager for American Student Assistance in Boston.
IF YOU GO
What: Benefit concert and auction
To benefit: David Nunez scholarship fund
When: Sunday, 4 to 7 p.m. kids' activities and raffles; 7 to 10 p.m. for ages 21 and up
Where: Murphy's Restaurant and Pub, 300 Derby St., Salem
Cost: $25 adults; free for children.
To donate: Call the UMass Development Office at 866-450-UMASS or via email at email@example.com