NEW YORK -- Frances Corey, the first woman to become an executive vice president at R.H. Macy & Co., died Thursday at her home in Beverly Hills.

Corey, 92, died from complications stemming from a bout with pneumonia, according to Keven Bellows, a senior vice president at Ketchum Public Relations, and a friend to the deceased.

A memorial service will be held at Corey's home, 1115 San Ysidro Drive, this Friday at 2 p.m.

Corey won numerous awards for creative retail advertising and excelled in an industry generally not known for promoting women. She started her career at the age of 18, when she opened a leased book shop inside Marshall Field's in Chicago.

Her retail experience also includes stints as director of fashion and advertising at Bloomingdale's from 1938 to 1943, and sales promotion and advertising manager at May Co. California from 1943 to 1953. She became an executive vice president at Macy's, here, in 1953.

"This was a time when there weren't even any women vice presidents. It never dawned on her," said Bellows. "She was very smart and had a great selling sense."

After Macy's, she became a senior vice president at Catalina Knitwear, and subsequently started her own consulting practice. In the Seventies and Eighties, she taught retail merchandising and was a adviser to students at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles. She retired in 1988.

Corey received the retail industry's most prestigious award, the Gold Medal, in 1949 and 1959. She also won the Cannes Festival Award in 1961 for television commercials.

No funeral service is being held. The body will be cremated, Bellows said. Corey is survived by her daughter, Mary, and a granddaughter, Molly.

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