Sunday, October 15, 2017
1:00 PM to 9:00 PM EDT
Turowski Life Story Funeral Homes
Livonia, West of Middlebelt
30200 Five Mile Rd.
Livonia, MI 48154
Prayers at 6:30 pm.
Monday, October 16, 2017
9:30 AM EDT
St Aidan's Church
17500 Farmington Rd
Livonia, MI 48152
Instate at 9:00 AM
Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Denise Barlage would agree that she was an extraordinary person to know and love. A tenderer nurturer to her core, she lived her life to love and serve others in ways both great and small. Although Denise accomplished so much of which to be proud, she was a humble woman whose greatest source of pride and joy was found in the moments she spent with her family and friends. It has been said that one of her many talents was the ability to never be on time, yet all would say that she was always worth waiting for. Fiercely independent, Denise was a champion for the less fortunate and an advocate for women and children. Life will never be the same without her here, but she leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that her loved ones will forever treasure.
It seems only fitting that Denise’s journey began during a time that was as vibrant as she was. It was the 1960s when we elected the young John F. Kennedy as our 35th President of the United States. Civil rights were front and center, and by the end of the decade we had put the first man on the moon. It was just as this exciting decade was dawning that William “Bill” and Marilyn Barlage were pleased to announce the birth of the baby girl they named Denise Michelle on May 2, 1960, in Detroit, Michigan. Joining her older brother, Bill, she was the second of six children in her family as she was also joined in her family by her younger siblings, Colleen, Kelly, Kerry, and Kevin. Denise’s father was a mailman while her mother was a homemaker who also sold Avon products.
Life in the Barlage home was always a bustle of activity. Only one year younger than her brother, Denise and Bill were like two peas in a pod until the twins arrived six years later. So excited to be helpful, Denise’s mother once woke up late and discovered Denise and Bill giving the infant twins a bath. Although dangerous, it was most likely Denise’s idea and her earliest effort to act as nurse and caregiver. Even as a young girl, she was a feisty trickster. She and brother Bill trekked one block to the local party store and when the merchant wouldn’t sell them two bags of chips, they went outside and traded sweater and glasses with each other and went back in. The merchant could hardly keep a straight face but sold them the chips based on their valiant effort alone.
Throughout her life Denise was always hard working and active. She attended St. Gerard Grade School and Benedictine High school in northwest Detroit. Since she knew she wanted to be a nurse at a young age, Denise worked part-time at Borman Hall home for the aged as a high school student. She excelled in her studies and was proud to be a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and National Honors Society. In addition, Denise was active in numerous high school activities and was a member of her senior year homecoming court. Even while growing up Denise was fiercely independent and competent. One summer in high school she single handedly redecorated the entire attic bedroom for the four sisters. This was anything but easy as she painted the room, varnished furniture, and selected new bedspreads, carpet and curtains. The end result was truly beautiful.
Being a nurse was a perfect fit for Denise. She completed her RNBSN through the University of Detroit and also graduated from Bronson Methodist Hospital Nursing School. With her education behind her, Denise worked as a staff nurse on a neurological unit. Denise then left Michigan to become a traveling nurse, living in Oklahoma, Florida, and the Washington, D.C. area. With her outgoing and spirited personality, she enjoyed meeting new people and caring for patients in a variety of settings. After returning to Michigan, she worked at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan for 25 years using her nursing background in the Medicare area, audit, and provider relations. Denise enjoyed working with physicians and problem solving most. Denise then moved on for a few years to work in compliance at the University of Michigan Health Services.
There was never anything of greater significance to Denise than her family and friends. She and her mother had an amazing bond, and over the years they traveled to several places including to the Amish Country in Pennsylvania and to Mackinac Island with close friend, Sherry Ossy. Denise was a devoted sister to her five brothers and sisters as well as a role model for her seven nieces and nephews as she instilled independence, friendliness, and had a quirky sense of humor to boot. She was famous for her impromptu visits, help with projects and crafting. Although Denise didn’t own any pets, she reluctantly yet lovingly assisted with her sibling’s pets. On more than one occasion she was known to overfeed, lose, or shave a dog. Denise loved traveling with her siblings and their families including trips to Disney and Florida. She had numerous groups of friends whether through work, neighborhood or school who were a family to her. Denise was truly grateful for the love, support, laughter and friendship they provided. She particularly loved the girls weekends and although she arrived late they all knew the party didn’t start until she got there. As a nurse by trade, everyone lovingly called Denise Nurse Ratched. She was the first one family and friends would run to when they had a minor injury or a severe illness. Using her clinical experience, wit, and humor everyone always felt better inside and out after a consult with her.
Within her community, Denise continued to serve others. She was a champion for the less fortunate and an advocate for women and children. Through the years she lent her time, talent and compassion for various causes including First Step, Hospice, Capuchen Soup Kitchen, and others. Denise loved all things vintage and moved into Rosedale Gardens almost 25 years ago. There, her neighbors knew her as a block captain and the parking Gestapo.
As her family and friends can attest, Denise was never one to be still. She loved going to garage sales, crafting, and vintage retro, or other unique items. Denise loved trying new foods, meeting new people, and was game to try almost anything at least once. She loved traveling including a memorable trip to Italy with special friends and even just hitting the beach in Saugatuck and walking around Mackinac Island.
Known for her QVC shoes, her unlimited Pashmina supply, and her long-winded stories that took forever to get to the point, Denise Barlage was a gift in the lives of everyone she met. She was generous beyond compare and willing to help anyone in need. Denise will be forever missed.
Denise Michelle Barlage, passed away on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. Beloved daughter of the late William Barlage and Marilyn (nee Murphy). Loving sister to William Barlage Jr., Colleen (Tim) Johnston, Kelly (John) Hulbert, Kerry (Steve) Selinsky and Kevin (Amy DePlanche) Barlage. Dearest aunt of Katie and Bridget Johnston, Madison and Jake Selinsky, Clay Hulbert, Olivia and Jack Barlage. Family will receive friends Saturday from 4–9 p.m. and Sunday from 1-9 p.m. at Neely-Turowski FH, 30200 5 Mile Rd, (between Merriman & Middlebelt) Livonia Mi 48154. Funeral Mass is on Monday, October 16, in state at 9 a.m. and funeral mass at 9:30 a.m. at St. Aidan’s Catholic Church 17505 Farmington Road, Livonia Mi 48154. Donations are appreciated and will support the Palliative Care Gift Fund at the University of Michigan. Please call 734-764-6777 or visit the website, http://victors.us/denisebarlage to make your gift. To sign the online guestbook, please go to TurowskiFuneralHome.com