Vito Puiia was born on September 24, 1914 in Rumford, Maine, the third of eight sons. His parents were both Italian immigrants, his father settling in the Rumford area to work for Mr. Chisholm, building the Oxford Paper Mill. His mother was a homemaker. He was a classmate of Ed Muskie’s, meeting Ed in middle school, and sharing a homeroom until graduation. They played basketball together, were both members of the science club, and were members of the National Honor Society. After High School, Puiia served in the military. Upon discharge, he returned to Rumford and worked in the shoe repair trade.
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Ross, Jim, "Puiia, Vito oral history interview" (1985). Edmund S. Muskie Oral History Collection. 332.