Louis E. "Jiggs" Marra, 94, formerly of Berry Run, Flemington, passed away peacefully at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday (Nov. 2, 2017) at the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility in Clarksburg, where he had resided and had been lovingly cared for by the staff since Sept. 12, 2017.
The eldest son among 10 children, Mr. Marra was born on March 27, 1923, in Berryburg (Barbour County), to the late Frank and Mary (Morasco) Marra.
"Jiggs" married the love of his life and dancing partner, Helen Benda Marra, on Feb. 9, 1946 after they both graduated from college. Mrs. Marra passed away Jan. 31, 2014 nine days shy of their 68th wedding anniversary. He was also preceded in death by five sisters, Rose Tait, Daisy Vukovich, Velma Infante, Ann Amoroso and Virginia Myers, and his youngest brother, Robert Marra Sr.
Mr. Marra is survived by his six children, Judith "Judy" Dolan and husband John of Stonewood, only son Michael Louis "Mike" Marra and wife Judy of Flemington, Karen Rieser and husband Michael of Flemington, Susanne "Susie" Graeber and husband Mark of Bridgeport, Paula Brinzo and husband Vito of Staten Island, New York, and Laetitia "Tish" McIntire of Evans, Georgia.
Mr. Marra is Grampa or Pap to 20 grandchildren, Julie (Dolan) Frombach and husband Ryan, Dr. John Dolan II and wife Ashley, Michele (Marra) Emory and husband Jay, Stephanie Toothman, Brian Murphy, Rick Johnson and wife Dee, Andrea (Johnson) Newlon and husband Stephen, Rebecca (Rieser) Felser and husband Jason, Brian Graeber and fiancée Julia MacLeod, Paul Graeber and wife Brittany, Joshua Mazzie and wife Shannon, Sam Mazzie and wife Jessica, Alex Mazzie, Vito Brinzo Jr. and wife Kristy, Jason Brinzo, Jacqueline Brinzo, Stanley David McIntire and wife Amber, Zachary McIntire and wife Peyton, Michael McIntire and Marra Beth McIntire; and 21 great-grandchildren, Aidan, Grayson and Delaney Frombach, Emmaline Dolan, Christina, John Paul and Luke Emory, Jarrett and Bailey Toothman, Ashley and Kaitlyn Murphy, Marra Rose Johnson, Lucas and Jaxon Newlon, Camdon and Lexie Davis, Nicholas, Joseph, and Gianna Brinzo, Justin Mazzie and Garrett McIntire; and a very special friend to the end, David "Ike" Montgomery.
"Jiggs" is also survived by three beloved siblings, brothers, Sammie Marra Sr. of Bridgeport, and Joseph Marra of Manassas, Virginia, and sister, Lucille Grady, Washington, D.C.; many precious nieces and nephews; and dear friends too numerous to count. He never knew a stranger and welcomed all as family.
After graduating as a star athlete from Philippi High School in 1941, "Jiggs" accepted a football scholarship to the University of Tennessee, where he played freshman football. He enlisted in the U.S. Army after the Pearl Harbor attack in December 1941 and did not return to Tennessee as he awaited being drafted. In July 1942, he was honorably discharged and then continued his education and athletic career at Fairmont State Teachers College. He was one of the last men there to earn a "letter" in football, baseball and basketball.
Following college, Mr. Marra was a teacher and a coach for one year in Farmington, where he made many friends including two former students, Sam Huff and Mike Arcure, who became lifelong friends. When his father became ill, he resigned his teaching position and took over running the family business, Marra Brothers Coal Co. in Brownton. Jiggs had a long and productive career in the coal business, from being the owner and and superintendent of the family business to loading "house coal" by shovel onto his pickup and delivering coal to families who needed it for their coal furnaces. His family often quipped that "he had coal dust running through his veins." He never really retired but continued to work, well into his late 80s, for Lloyd Lang at Lang Brothers and then for Andy Lang at Blue Dot.
Our dad was a dutiful and obedient son, a loving and caring brother, uncle, cousin, nephew, father, father-in-law, grandfather and friend, but most of all, he was a devoted husband to his Helen and a very special dad to each one of his children. He was a hard worker and expected the best from those who worked for him. He loved his family and friends unconditionally and would do anything for them. He was optimistic beyond reality, a gifted storyteller and a giving man with the strongest handshake. God broke the mold when He made "Jiggs."
Mr. Marra was a lifelong and contributing member of All Saints Catholic Church.
The family would like to thank all of their dad's caregivers from the Taylor County Senior Citizens Center, especially Kaleena Mayle and Stephanie White, Sylvia Allen, Donna Nestor, all the doctors and staff at the Clarksburg VA Hospital, the staff at the Rosewood Center in Grafton, and Dr. James Hill and staff at the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility, Clarksburg.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the WVVNF Resident Benefit Fund in memory of Louis E. "Jiggs" Marra at the West Virginia Veterans Nursing Facility, One Freedoms Way, Clarksburg, WV 26301.
Friends will be received from 2-7:30 p.m. Monday at All Saints Catholic Church, 317 East Main St., Bridgeport. A Vigil Service will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the church. The Catholic Funeral Liturgy will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the church with Reverend Father Benedict Kapa and Reverend Father Kent Durig presiding. The interment will follow in the Bridgeport Cemetery. The U.S. Army and the Harrison County Honor Guard will provide full military honors at graveside.
Condolences may be extended to the family at www.fordfuneralhomes.com.
The Marra family has entrusted the care and arrangements to the Ford Funeral Home, 215 East Main St., Bridgeport.
Published on November 4, 2017