Saturday, August 22, 2020
11:00 AM EDT
St. Mary, Cause of Our Joy
8200 N. Wayne Road
Westland, MI 48185
*Instate 10:30 am
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
14100 Newburgh Rd
Livonia, MI 48154
Life Story / Obituary
With ways all her own, Marilyn Barlage was special and a friend to all she encountered. In addition to her loving heart, Marilyn was ever compassionate. Whether she was welcoming one of her beloved grandchildren into her arms or brightening the days of others, her genuine and good natured spirit welcomed all with her warmhearted smile. With nurturing grace, Marilyn was truly an inspiration and brought peace, faith, and hope to those she came in contact with through her selfless and gentle strength.
By 1932, the economy continued to deteriorate as a result of the Great Depression. Unemployment increased to over 24 percent with an astounding 13 million out of work, many struggled to keep their families fed and a roof over their heads. Yet for Lloyd Herbert and Madeline Murphy, the year offered hope and promise as they celebrated the birth of their little girl, Marilyn Therese on February 21, 1932.
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Marilyn’s father “Herbie” worked at The Detroit News as a linotype operator. Her mother served as a nurse before beginning their family. Sweet and social little Marilyn Murphy had a happy upbringing and enjoyed a childhood typical of her generation filled with girlhood adventures. The oldest of the Murphy girls, Marilyn had two younger sisters, Patricia “Patsy” and Carol and enjoyed playing with them and interacting with her many neighborhood friends.
Marilyn received her early education from St. Brigid Catholic Grade School in Detroit and was known as a polite and a good student. During her youth she took piano lessons and was also an avid reader. Having proudly graduated in 1950 from the Detroit all girls’ Catholic high school, Immaculata, she thoroughly enjoyed her home economics classes as well as her typing and shorthand courses. Always well liked and quite personable, Marilyn was very involved in her many school activities. During high school she held close to a tight knit group of friends which she always remained close.
Marilyn worked at a five and dime variety store and enjoyed helping the customers. After high school she began working for the City of Detroit in the electrical department doing administrative work for the engineers. She so enjoyed working in the city’s county building and liked the hustle and bustle of being in the heart of the city. Being downtown also offered Marilyn the opportunity to enjoy shopping at Hudson’s on her lunch breaks.
Always fun-loving and vivacious, Marilyn loved planning and organizing outings and activities with her friends. Even after graduating she served on the class reunion committees both for her grade school and high school classes in addition to helping plan their yearly get-togethers and luncheons. Yet there was one new friend in particular who captured Marilyn’s heart and before long she found herself meeting the love of her life.
Marilyn met William “Bill” Barlage in 1955 while attending a Catholic league dance at Precious Blood Church. She found him to be funny, charming and thought he resembled the actor, William Holden. Quite smitten from the start, the feeling was mutual. The two began dating and together they enjoyed their budding romance. They enjoyed fun get-togethers with other couples all while enjoying dancing and having parties.
Following a two-year courtship, Marilyn and Bill were married on October 5, 1957 at Precious Blood Church. They bought a bungalow in Northwest Detroit and enjoyed getting to know their neighbors and hosting weekly Pinochle games. In 1959, they began a family of their own and were excited to welcome each new bundle of joy. William Jr. was followed by Denise in 1960, and twins, Colleen and Kelly came along 1966. Kerry was born in 1969, and their youngest, Kevin arrived in 1971. Although a busy, bustling household, they were an active, outgoing group of kids who never managed to rattle Marilyn and Bill’s otherwise calm and sweet demeanor, although they sure did try!
After becoming a devoted wife and dedicated mother, Marilyn remained at home to care for her family. As a woman of faith, she was devout to her Catholic roots. She cooked, cleaned, drove everyone everywhere and was the CEO of the home front. A wonderful and constant presence in the lives of their children, Marilyn and Bill loved nothing more than keeping their family safe, happy, fed and content. Marilyn dedicated herself and her time caring for her family and was very resourceful making ends meet. She was crafty and creative, and she loved sharing her recipes and helpful household tips.
Marilyn considered marrying her wonderful husband, raising six great and successful children and becoming Mimi to her seven terrific grandkids as her greatest accomplishments. She cherished time spent talking with each of her kids and their spouses with whom she was highly thought of. Spending precious family time together with her grandkids brought Marilyn such joy. She cared about each of them deeply and loved telling them stories and imparting life lessons through her humor and wit. Marilyn absolutely loved Christmas and for many years wrote annual Christmas letters to family, friends, and neighbors to keep everyone abreast of the antics and happenings at the lively Barlage house! In the 1980s they moved to the Livonia area where Marilyn remained for the rest of her days.
Another great accomplishment for Marilyn was reaching her 40 year milestone of selling Avon products. She was also recognized for being in Avon’s President Circle over several years acknowledging her top sales. Marilyn was thought of as a dear friend and confidant of many. She was blessed with such a wide circle of friends.
She enjoyed visiting with her many Canadian aunts, uncles and cousins. She was proud of her Canadian, Irish and German heritage. From there she always ventured to the neighboring town of Walkerton to stay with her lifelong friend, Collette. Continuing this tradition through the years with their children, great memories were shared loading up the family station wagon with all six kids which began their always fun and special Canadian adventures. Marilyn and Bill also enjoyed a wonderful bus tour out east and she had great fun going to Pennsylvania with their oldest daughter, Denise exploring the Amish countryside. Marilyn also delighted staying at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
Marilyn enjoyed being at home and loved holding court in the living room and having visitors over to talk and catch up. She was delighted when old friends dropped by, especially friends from old neighborhoods or her children’s now grown, school friends who fondly referred to her as, “Mrs. B” and looked to her as a second mom. She always had her “special mom spot” at the head of the kitchen table which was where she ran her household with her phone cradled between her shoulder and chin. Anyone could call her at any hour and she was happy to listen and offer help.
She enjoyed reading the newspaper everyday with her cup of coffee in between doing a million loads of laundry and making meals like a short order cook. Through the years she enjoyed hosting big groups of family and friends all while feeding and comforting many. There was always room at her table. Without resolve, she prepared a delicious, homemade dinner each night while Bill happily cleaned up the kitchen and helped load the dishwasher. Together they were a great example of loving teamwork! Their home was always full of kids and activity yet Marilyn managed to keep things running smoothly without her feathers getting ruffled. She truly welcomed the chaos and shenanigans that comes with raising such a large family.
With her sweet, kind, gracious and gentle ways, Marilyn was very involved at her church, the Women’s Club, Mother of Twins Club, and served as a school board member. She coordinated funeral luncheons and set an example of how important it is to serve others, multitask and help through volunteering.
Most importantly, Marilyn taught her family to be strong, faith filled, personable and caring individuals. She expelled the power of forgiveness, to be nonjudgmental, and the importance of being patient, kind, and hopeful. Always humble, Marilyn was an example to all and opted to shine the spotlight on others. Through their selfless and sacrificial nature, Marilyn and Bill set the example of what it means to be ever caring and compassionate. Marilyn was thoughtful, gracious and gentle when she spoke and chose her words carefully. She never said a bad word or belittled anyone. She loved imparting her wisdom through stories and quotes and loved seeing others experience joy in their lives.
Family was everything to Marilyn Barlage and in them she found her greatest joy. A thoughtful, encouraging and compassionate force in the lives around her, Marilyn leaves much to be remembered. A woman of faith and hope, she held fast to her positive nature while enjoying the simple pleasures in life. Now and in the days to come, lasting memories of her will continue to be treasured.
Marilyn Therese Barlage (nee Murphy), age 88 of Livonia, passed away peacefully on August 17, 2020. Marilyn was the beloved wife of the late William Patrick Barlage for 48 years. Dear mother of William, predeceased by Denise, Colleen (Timothy) Johnston, Kelly (John) Hulbert, Kerry (Steven) Selinsky, Kevin (Amy). Loving grandma “Mimi” of Katie and Bridget Johnston, Madison and Jake Selinsky, Clay Hulbert, and Olivia and Jack Barlage. Sister of Patricia (Gerhardt) Obrikat, predeceased by sister, Carol (Bob) Schmitt.
A visitation will be held Friday, 2-8 pm, at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile Road (between Middlebelt Rd. and Merriman Rd.) Livonia. Funeral Mass will be held at St. Mary, Cause of Our Joy, 8200 N. Wayne Rd., Westland, on Saturday, with an instate 10:30 am until the time of service at 11 am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Angela Hospice.