Richard D. Marra Sr., 86, of Springfield, Delaware County, a Philadelphia-area builder, died Friday, Dec. 5, of bone cancer at his home.
Starting at age 15, Mr. Marra honed his construction skills by working with his father, Domenico, owner of a business in Delaware County that built concrete foundations.
After attending Villanova University for two years, he dropped out in favor of his true calling - to work full-time with his father and brother Vincent in their business, Domenico Marra & Sons.
In 1968, Mr. Marra started his own firm, Richard Marra Builder. The company in Clifton Heights built single-family homes, apartments, and townhouses throughout the region. Two of its developments are Trent Manor in West Norriton Township and the Meadows in East Goshen Township.
Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Marra graduated from Yeadon High School in 1946. He married Claire Marie Harkins in 1951; the two moved from Broomall to Springfield in 1961 and celebrated their 63d wedding anniversary this year.
Mr. Marra was a passionate golfer. He was a lifelong member of the Rolling Green Golf Club, where, in 1973, he hit a hole in one on the 3d hole. He won Llanerch Country Club's member-guest tournament in 2007 after playing in the competition for 40 years.
He enjoyed Florida and the Caribbean. His favorite trip, however, was to Italy, and included a visit to a church in Abruzzo built by his father and uncles. When he and his wife approached the building, now abandoned, its bells started to ring. They hadn't rung in 25 years, and the family decided it must be a sign that "your father knows you're here," said daughter Denise M. McNeill
Mr. Marra spent summers at the Jersey Shore.
"He enjoyed a fine wine, a good cigar, and a challenging game of gin rummy," his family said.
His wife died in June. Besides his daughter, he is survived by daughters Judy M. Martelli, Mary Ellen David, Claire M. Ryan, and Sheila M. Grubb; son Richard D. Jr.; 13 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.
A Funeral Mass will be said at 11 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, at St. Dorothy Church, 4910 Township Line Rd., Drexel Hill. Interment is in Calvary Cemetery.
Contributions may be made to Coaches vs. Cancer, c/o Phil Martelli and Fran Dunphy, St. Joseph's University, Men's Basketball Office, 5600 City Ave., Philadelphia 19131.