Marion was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, March 27, 1918, to Antone and Anne (Riley) Conta. She was their only daughter. She had one younger brother, Lt. Col. Albert Conta, who died in 2001.
Marion had it all: beauty, brains, talent, wit, and she was a superb athlete. Early in her childhood she discovered the power of education. She walked long miles to the local library and became an ardent reader. When she reached adulthood, she blossomed into a beauty contest winner with a exceptional soprano singing voice. She won athletic awards in badminton and ping-pong. She loved basketball and tennis.
Marion’s career choice was nursing. She excelled in her studies while working her way through school. She achieved 100-percent correct answers on her nursing board exams, giving her the highest grade in the State of Utah Nursing Exams in 1940.
Marion was married in 1939. The marriage lasted 18 years and produced three children: Connie, Marianne and Thomas. Divorced, Marion became a single parent and was a wonderful mother. She supported her family by moving to California, and working as an R.N. in the movie and TV industry. She worked as a location nurse on many shows such as “Gunsmoke,” “Bonanza,” “Wild Wild West,” “Big Valley” and “Perry Mason,” eventually becoming head of the medical department at CBS Studios in Studio City, California. She was also the head of the medical department for Francis Ford Coppola.
One of the most important things in Marion’s life was when, in her 20s, she became a convert to the Roman Catholic Church. She was a devout Catholic to her last breath. She was very active in Brookings’ Star of the Sea Catholic Church. She was a founder of the Cenacle of Our Lady and she founded Marion C. Anderson the Star of the Sea Carmelite group of Brookings.
She loved animals of all kinds and rescued many abandoned cats over the years, including her beloved “Dolly.”
Marion is survived by her adult children, Connie and Thomas Anderson, and Marianne Padilla. Marion is also survived by her sister, Mrs. Nadine Butler of Grand Prairie, Texas; brother Wayne Conta of Murry, Utah; her granddaughter, Sarah Padilla; grandson Andre Padilla; sister-in-law Averill Conta of Salt Lake City, Utah; nephew Amadeus Conta and his mother, Susan Conta, in Washington state.
She will be deeply loved and missed forever by her family, many friends and her cats “Lucky” and “Dolly.”
Recitation of the Holy Rosary and Vigil will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, July 22, 2013, at Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 820 Old County Road. The Holy Rosary will be recited again at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 23, 2013, at the Church followed by Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. Rev. Luan Nguyen will be the celebrant. A luncheon in the Parish Hall will follow the Mass; Marion will be laid to rest at the W. J. Ward Memorial Cemetery following the luncheon.
Remembrance donations may be sent to Carmel of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, 5714 Holladay Blvd., Salt Lake City, Utah 84121 with which Marion shared a close spiritual relationship and friendship for over 50 years; or to South Coast Humane Society, P.O. Box 7833, Brookings, OR 97415.
Condolences may be expressed online at www.redwoodmemorial.net.
Submitted by Redwood Memorial Chapel.