Jean Marano was born in 1915 in New York City to Italian immigrant parents. After high school, she worked several years as a dressmaker. She has always loved animals and had a magical ability growing flowers. She has lived in Danvers, Massachusetts for the last 40 years, where she has won several contests for her character doll creations, such as Popeye and Mother Goose. Now 96, she is too old to sew and garden, but clearly recalls her memories of Jumbo. Daughter Lydia, who grew up with Jumbo in the 1950s, is currently an artist and science fiction writer living in California.