March 20, 1932 ~ July 3, 2019

Born in: Butte, Montana
Resided in: Denver , Colorado

Mary Marlene Sarlo, age 87, passed away in her home on July 3, 2019, after complications with heart disease. Marlene was born in Butte, MT, to Clarence and Kathryn Freudenstein, the youngest and only daughter, with three older brothers, Bob, Bill, and Jack. The family moved to Denver when Marlene was quite young, settling in the Capitol Hill area. She grew up with trolley cars, shopping at the Denver Dry, and fishing at City Park.

She graduated from the all-girl’s St. Mary’s Academy in 1949. After a whirlwind courtship, she married John Ralph Sarlo of Pueblo, and together they raised 10 children. She was an active member and leader in the St. John’s Parish (now Good Shepherd), helping establish the Catholic Youth Organization, prisoner home visitation programs, and infamous spaghetti dinner nights. Even with her own household bursting at the seams, Marlene made room for the boys and girls in the CYO program, at-risk teens, strangers, neighbors, friends, visiting priests and Church officials – even the FBI – at her table or on her floor, to sleep in whatever space was available. Marlene’s cooking did more than staunch hunger; it helped stimulate conversation, laughter, and nourish the soul.

Marlene’s life was marked by her outgoing nature, fun (and sometimes trouble) with her friends, her support of those in need, and her penchant for story-telling. Her life of service did not stop with the Church. She spent most Wednesdays at the St. Francis Center, preparing, serving, and cleaning up at the Soup Kitchen. Outside of spending time with her family, this brought her the most joy.

Marlene was a reluctant (but loud) public singer; Westernaire; tap dancer; washboard band member; proud Liberal and life-long Democrat; dedicated but questioning Catholic; gourmet cook; savage truth-teller; savvy navigator; loving and devoted daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and (finally!) great-grandmother. What was larger:  her loving heart or her sense of humor?

Marlene was preceded in death by her parents; her three brothers Robert (Father Bob), William (Bill), and John (Jack) Freudenstein; her husband John Sarlo; and her son Dan. She is survived by her nine children and their families:  Robert (Leslie), Kathryn DiMarco (Chuck), John Jr. (Mary), Chris Eisenhauer (Bruce), Mary Ann Christensen (Tom), Tom (Debbie), Meg Campbell (Andrew), Judy Allender (Randy), Michael (Jackie); 21 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren, and 1 rescue dog, Mr. Boo Radley. She will be greatly missed.

Funeral Mass is scheduled for July 19, 2019 at 11 am at Most Precious Blood Catholic Church, 2250 S. Harrison St., Denver CO 80210. Reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the
Denver Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen (at St. Francis Center)
PO Box 27255
Denver CO 80227

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne

“Life is not fair; it’s just fairer than death, that’s all.”  William Goldman, The Princess Bride




Funeral Mass: July 19, 2019 11:00 am

Most Precious Blood Catholic Church
2250 S Harrison St.
Denver, CO 80210

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Memories Timeline


  1. Oh, I’m so sorry. Your mom was such a wonderful person during your time in Faith… she and your dad built that CYO program from scratch, and I have such great memories of that. And just hanging out at the Sarlo house… I’m so sorry she’s gone…

  2. Sarlo families, my condolences are with you all. I have fond memories of our Faith days, hanging with the crew. I wish you all well. Priceless memories, indeed, and Marlene was definitely a part.

  3. Sorry for your loss, I understand your pain, just lost Dad in March. Talk about all the good times you had with your family and keep those memories going. I remember practically living at the Sarlo house. You are a great and dear family.

  4. First of all, I want to express my sincere condolences to the Sarlo family. Having grown up in the Saint John’s parish I am vey privileged to have known a lot of this wonderful family.
    I want to tell my story of going to the Cherry Crest restaurant some years ago. It was a Saturday afternoon ( the place was crowded ) and I walked in to have a bite to eat and unbeknownst to me Dr and Mrs Sarlo were sitting at a table and Mrs Sarlo asked if I would join them. I immediately said yes! Well, we went through the normal, how’s the fam damily and just talked about life and had a terrific lunch.
    Their recognition of me after years of not seeing me has never left my memory and it never will.
    To all the Sarlo family, God Bless

  5. Thoughts and prayers are with you all. May God give you peace and comfort your hearts. This writing was a beautiful tribute to your Mom (Judy) and gave great insight to what an incredible and active woman she was. I wish I had met her. She leaves a great legacy and wonderful family. I see she will truly be missed, but her strong memories will live long.

  6. Our thoughts are with you during this time of loss. What a beautiful legacy she has left behind.
    the Youngquists

  7. I am sorry to hear of Marlene’s death – What a wonderful woman! She left so much for her family and friends to treasure and hope to replicate in some small way.
    Blessings of peace to all of you,
    Mary McGlone, CSJ

  8. Ruby and Frank Benison
    I didn’t know your Mom Judy, but anyone that could raise an amazing tribe of wonderful, successful children like you and your sibs, must have been a remarkable woman
    May she finally Rest In Peace!

  9. I was one of those CYO kids supported by team Sarlo. I will always treasure Mrs. Sarlo’s kindness, humor and fun! A true light and spirit. Sending heartfelt sympathy to family and friends.

  10. What a wonderful legacy your mom left behind!
    She will be missed.
    Sending condolences to the extended Sarlo Family

  11. Our sympathy to all the Sarlo Family. The Lobato Family remembers all the good times and fun holidays we shared together. Marlene was always ready for some adventure. We enjoyed antiquing, tole painting, making wine, youth work, taking in prisioners…..whatever. What a pal she was!!

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