Marlene R. Blacklaw, nee Eisenhut, RN, BSN. passed away Monday, February 28, 2022 peacefully at age 81. Beloved wife of the late Gerald for 51 years. Devoted mother of Ann (George) Karavitis and Brian (Kimberly) Blacklaw. Loving step-mother of Susan (the late Warren) Baker and David (Tammy) Blacklaw. Beloved daughter of the late Frederick and BeAda Eisenhut. Loving grandmother of Stephanie (Chris) Sanders, Elizabeth (Kevin) Baker Smith, Nicholas (Michelle) Blacklaw, Joel (Andrea Bloomfield) Blacklaw, Kathryn (Andy) Bryan, Travis (Samantha da Silva) Baker, Victoria Karavitis, Angeliki Karavitis, Matthew Blacklaw, Vasilios Karavitis, and Payton Blacklaw. Loving Great-Grandmother of Aubrey, Addie, Quentin, the late Ashlynn, Levi, and Lincoln. Dear sister of the late Fred (Kathy) Eisenhut, Joanne (Donald) Lange, and Richard (Maria) Eisenhut. Fond Aunt and friend of many.
Marlene grew up on the north side in Portage Park with her family and friends. She worked in her father’s bakery in Jefferson Park after school where she learned the importance of balancing the cash register and premium customer service for a family business. Marlene and her girlfriends were the talk of the neighborhood one night when they went to a dance and came home in the back of a paddy wagon. If only the neighbors knew it was just the work vehicle of her friend’s dad. She left the neighborhood to attend the Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital School of Nursing at age 18.
Her nursing career began at Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Hospital and she later found her calling at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oaklawn after marrying and “gasp” moving to the south side. She excelled as an Emergency Room nurse and would say that she could “work on a patient with one hand and eat a sandwich with the other”, something the kids today call multi-tasking. Her drive and determination pushed her to complete her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree 25 years, to the day, after receiving her nursing pin having worked full time and while raising a family. Leaving the ER behind, she became a paramedic instructor where she spent years training all those brave souls who rush out to save lives whenever needed. Upon her retirement, she was overwhelmed by the sheer number of firehouse and paramedic heroes that turned out to show their genuine appreciation for her instruction and guidance and what that meant to the first responders’ community.
Marlene enjoyed many things throughout her life. She loved great mysteries like Sherlock Holmes, Dick Francis and Agatha Christie. Dogs were a constant source of companionship and included a rescued german shepherd, strays that stuck around the yard and even a retired racing greyhound. Classical music was a joy and she spent many years playing her beloved Wurlitzer organ. Butter cookies on your pinky finger were always a delicious treat for the grandkids. However, chocolate in any form was the best joy of all, be it coffee, ice cream, candy, cereal, milk, pudding or fudgsicles.
Marlene was such a warm and compassionate person that people immediately gravitated to her. One Marlene wasn’t enough for Gerald, so he named his boat “MARLENE”. She was a night owl partly based on her years as an ER nurse and that led to many fond memories of playing games or talking about cars, dogs, family stories or other fun topics in the late-night hours when we could “solve the problems of the world”. After many dinner-time ER stories, her children all chose different professions. She never shied away from helping anyone with their medical questions. Sharing brought her joy and she cared deeply about kids having a great Christmas and enough food to eat. She was focused on her family and friends and was a great role model. She worked diligently to achieve her goals and had a strong sense of independence. Marlene left us all with many fond memories of the joyous times and an example for how to treat others.
May God grant her eternal rest and let perpetual light shine down upon her.
In lieu of flowers donations in Marlene’s name to the Westchester Food Pantry (or the food pantry of your choice) or to St. Michael’s Orthodox Church would be appreciated.