Nilda R. Marlais

October 3, 1924 ~ January 31, 2018 (age 93)

Nilda Rossini Marlais, age 93, of Grand Rapids passed away on Wednesday, Jan 31, 2018.  She was a tiny lady that lived a very big life. Nilda mesmerized everyone she met and she gave a lot to people over her sometimes-wild journey through life.  Nilda Marlais was born in Trieste, Italy on Oct. 3, 1924, the son of Davide and Magdalena Rossini.  World War II turned their lives upside down.  Both her father and brother were held in German concentration camps, refuting the will of Hitler. Her father died in the camps. During the war, she was employed as a translator by American and British occupation forces in Trieste.  After the war, she came to America, and lived in New York. She worked for an Italian wine import business, a business that dealt with fine fabrics, and for Edward Vergara Cafarelli, who was a music critic on a NYC classical radio station. After she married and had children, the family moved to Maumee, Ohio, where she was a homemaker and enjoyed the Toledo Symphony Orchestra and The Toledo Museum of Art.  On Dec. 21, 1957, Nilda married John Marlais, an architect schooled at Columbia. They lived by Fort Tryon Park in NYC. She was preceded in death by her son, Pierre Marlais, of Phoenix, Arizona, as well as her one brother, Mario Rossini, of Trieste, Italy, and her husband John who passed away in 2001 from Parkinson’s disease.  She is survived by her daughter, Helen Marlais, and her son-in-law, Arthur Campbell, of Grand Rapids, MI, her grandson, Marc, and her daughter-in-law, Zuleima, of Phoenix, AZ.  She has a surviving niece, Susie, in Italy, with her two daughters, Diada and Gwendolina  The family ill receive friends at the Metcalf and Jonkhoff Funeral Home at 2:00 pm on February 23. There will be an informal memorial service at 2:00 with a reception to follow. A Catholic mass in Lakewood, Ohio, where Nilda and John lived before John passed away, will be announced in the spring.  For those who wish, memorial donations may be made to Christian Rest Home, 1000 Edison Ave NW Grand Rapids Michigan.  The staff are truly exemplary.


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