September 27, 1934 ~ April 21, 2022

Born in: Providence, Rhode Island
Resided in: Asheville, NC

Mary Louise (Lent) Marnock passed away on April 21, 2022 at the age of 87 in Asheville, North Carolina. She was the eldest of six, raised in Tiverton, Rhode Island, where she honed her natural swimming talent. She was valedictorian of her high school class and first chair in the State for violin. Plus, she could play the piano and sing well, often doing so in her sleep. After high school, she headed to New York City where she studied nursing and made lifelong friendships.

[Just an aside: When Mary learned that one of her daughters was attending a lecture given by Frank McCourt, the author of Angela’s Ashes, she sent an 8×12 black and white picture taken over 50 years ago of her on a double date in Manhattan with his brother Malachy along with Frank and Mary’s good friend Alberta. An usher passed the picture on, and Mr.McCourt sought out Mary’s daughter to thank her. He was deeply moved and truly grateful. Mary said she only went out with Malachy once as he was too pushy, but her good friend became one of Frank’s wives.]

She found work at the National Institute of Health in Washington, D.C. after becoming a registered nurse, where she met her husband, Marvin Marnock, a Navy veteran and patent attorney who passed away in 2012. They honeymooned in Mexico City in 1959, climbed the pyramids, and made their way back to Texas, where they raised five children next door to NASA during the halcyon days of the Apollo years. All of her children learned to swim well, and several share her musical talent, but, ahem, not all. She insisted on a homecooked family meal every night, was not hesitant to use soap to wash out filthy mouths, hid her candy in the upper cabinet, enjoyed hunting for “bargains” at Needless Markup, and often gave the baby the largest piece of her worth-fighting-for homemade pies, especially the strawberry rhubarb. She went back to school when her youngest was in elementary school, studying at the kitchen table amid the raucous. She received her B.S. in nursing in her mid-forties and worked until her mid-seventies when Parkinson’s finally intervened, eventually forcing her to quit, much to her dismay.

She and Marvin moved to Asheville in 2011, where their son Jim practices medicine. She is survived by her five children, Caroline, Jane, Jim, Patrick, and Cian, as well as eleven of her twelve grandchildren, who fondly remember her penchant for gummy worms and chocolate bon bons, which she freely shared with them and their pets. She was an energizer bunny, and her body refused to stop running, lasting years longer than even she predicted.

No flowers please. If you would like to honor her memory, please consider donating to the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. She did not want a service, but feel free to share any fond memories or offer condolences at She will be buried next to her husband at Lewis Memorial Park.


Funeral Home Assisting The Family:

Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
72 Long Shoals Road
Arden, NC 28704


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  1. Mary Lou was the most amazing lady. Strong and determined. She loved her family and was so proud. I was lucky to have had her in my life and a grandma to my girls.
    We love you !

  2. Dr Marnock, my heart hurts for you! I know your little mom is in a better place, bit it doesn’t make ypur heart hurt less. Praying for you and your family♥️

  3. Dr. Marnock, Sending you my condolences on the loss of your beautiful mother. Praying for God to comfort you and your family in the days ahead.

  4. I had the pleasure and honor of working with Mary for several years at Rosewood Medical Center PACU in Houston, Texas. Mary was a highly valued RN while employed at Rosewood. It was a small outlying hospital far from the prestigious Houston Medical Center but it offered quality care with a “personal” touch. She blended in very expediently and gave meticulous care. Her sense of humor was subtle and sharp. She adored her family and spoke of them often. I will admit to not having been totally familiar with Irish Catholic names and she had such a giggle at my version of Aloysius…we both laughed!
    I treasure having known her. One of my fondest photos is of her with the other PACU nurses taken not too long before Rosewood was closed. Rest in peace dear Mary, my friend.


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