Marilyn Cova of Ladera Ranch, CA died Wednesday after a long illness, surrounded by the children she loved.
Family was always the center of Marilyn’s life. She doted on her children and grandchildren, and in 2006 took her extended family on a Mediterranean cruise. She never wanted a family gathering to end, and would fight to stay awake into the wee hours, not wanting to miss a snippet of gossip. First diagnosed with leukemia in January 2010, she defied her doctor’s projections again and again. Life was a great adventure for Marilyn, and she did not want to leave.
Marilyn was born in the Central Valley town of Madera on Christmas Eve, 1935. Her father Albert Barsotti built a thriving bakery company, and served for years as Madera’s mayor. Her mother Helen Barsotti (born Helen O’Donnell) was the daughter of a railroad engineer who piloted trains on the narrow-gauge rail lines serving lumber camps near Yosemite.
Though born in the country, Marilyn was a city girl at heart. After graduating from Madera High, she moved to Los Angeles to attend Woodbury College where she majored in fashion merchandising. At Woodbury, she met her future husband Harvey Cova, who died in 2013. The couple was married in 1956.
With her fashion degree, Marilyn was employed for several years at Frederick’s of Hollywood. The couple eventually settled in Westchester, raising four children. Marilyn became a Girl Scout leader and was active in her church, St. Jerome’s.
Moving to Irvine in 1979, Marilyn joined St. Thomas More Catholic Church and was active in the Italian Catholic Federation frequently opening up her home for dinners and social activities.
In addition to Harvey, Marilyn is survived by daughters Alison Corrigan (John), Karen Cova and Marianne Merizalde; son Jeffrey Cova (Anne); and brother James Barsotti of Madera. She is also survived by seven grandchildren: Kelly, Kevin and Katie Corrigan; Mathew Merizalde; and Shane, Sam and Mia Cova.
Services will be as follows: Rosary Vigil – Sunday, October 11 at 7PM at St. Thomas More, Irvine, CA and Funeral Mass – Monday, October 12 at 10AM at Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano.
“We sure had some fun times together,” one of Marilyn’s daughters told her near the end. “We sure did,” Marilyn said.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation-Cancer Services, 1100 West Stewart Drive, Orange, CA 92868 or The Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, 765 The City Drive South #450, Orange, CA 92868. Please put Marilyn Cova’s name in the note section as the funds will be directed to leukemia research.