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Nora Cooney Marra, Award Winning Designer, Dies at 52

Civic minded Lake Forest woman won awards for interior design.

Nora Cooney Marra, 52, of Lake Forest died Tuesday surrounded by her family at her home after a long battle with pancreatic cancer, according to information provided by Wenban Funeral Home. 

Marra was the owner of her own interior design firm based in Chicago, Nora C Marra Interiors. She designed homes throughout the Chicagoland area and around the country winning a number of awards. 

Doing interior design from Aspen to Chicago and Florida, Marra was the recipient of a prizes for her work but it was not her nature to discuss her personal accomplishments, according to her brother, John Cooney. 

"My sister was remarkably modest about her many successes,” Cooney said. “She would prefer to talk about the successes of her friends and family rather than her own accomplishments." 

Past president of the Woman's Board of Northwestern Memorial Hospital and a chairperson of the Passavant Cotillion, Marra was active with many civic and charitable causes in Lake Forest and Chicago including the Infant Welfare Society. 

"It is impossible to describe the amount of energy and humor that Nora brought to those that knew her,” Cooney said. "She was that girl who literally lit up every room she entered." 

According to longtime family friend Thomas Tully, Marra was able to live her life with the perfect mix of family, community and business. 

"I have known Nora since she was a little girl and know her to be one of this city's finest women,” Tully said. “She possessed the ability to balance her successful career and also be the best mother imaginable to her two boys." 

Marra is survived by her husband Richard Marra Jr. and her two sons, Rye and John. She was the daughter of Robert J. Cooney and Noreen Walsh Cooney of Chicago. Her father was a prominent attorney and the founder of the nationally known law firm of Cooney and Conway in Chicago. 

In addition to John Cooney, Marra is survived by another brother, Bob Cooney. Both brothers are members of Cooney and Conway.

Visitation is planned between 3 and 8 p.m. Sunday at Wenban Funeral Home in Lake Forest. There will be a funeral mass at 10 a.m. Monday at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago. 

Vicky Kujawa May 02, 2013 at 12:53 AM
So sorry to hear this......Nora was truly a wonderful person. Prayers for Richard, John and Rye.
Naomi May 02, 2013 at 04:30 PM
SO sorry to hear this. Nora was always so kind and helpful to me in any endeavor.
Mary Kay Mikuska May 07, 2013 at 01:55 AM
So sorry to hear about Nora. I had the pleasure of meeting her through my sister Cyndy at Northwestern Hospital and heard so many wonderful stories about her. She will be remembered in my prayers Mary Kay Mikuska

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