Olson Burke/Sullivan Funeral & Cremation Center

Olson Burke Sullivan OBITUARIES

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Marlene M. Russ , Age: 67
July 18, 1954 -- September 19, 2021

      Marlene M. Russ passed away on September 19, 2021.  She was born at Saint Anne’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, on July 18, 1954, to Earl L. Russ, Sr, and Wilma Resing Russ.  Marlene was the fourth of five siblings: sisters, Bernadine, Lillian, and Kristin, and recently deceased brother Earl Jr.   Marlene attended Nixon Grade School, and Kelvyn Park High School. 

      As a child, Marlene developed a love of reading when her mother allowed Marlene to access her collection of classic fiction novels.  She was a quiet child who enjoyed reading over socializing, but those close to her knew her to be a deep thinker.

      After high school, she worked at several jobs, including the Veterans Administration and an insurance company.  During those years she traveled to Canada, Mexico, Jamaica, and various states, and developed a love for nature.  She especially enjoyed being outdoors and would prefer walking in the forest preserves to seeing a movie. 

      In 1987, Marlene married Dennis Carroll, whom she met in high school.  During their marriage, they had two children, Matthew and Jaclyn.  Marlene instilled her love of reading to her children.  As a toddler, her son Matthew would greet her in the morning with a stack of books that he wanted to have read out loud to him.   Before she could walk her daughter Jaclyn after much frustration, figured out how to turn pages in her picture books.  Marlene passed her love of nature to her children, who had various pets including finches, mice, snakes, fish, tadpoles, and of course dogs and cats.

      It was after her children were in school that Marlene went back to college.  She pursued a degree in early childhood education, which she completed in 2006.  She worked for a while as a teacher.  Later in life, she volunteered at Resurrection Hospital, and later at Brookfield Zoo. 

      When she wasn’t reading, Marlene would sew quilts, crochet blankets.  She enjoyed taking old pieces of furniture and repurposing them with paintings and beautiful designs. 

      Raised as a Lutheran she later attended a Catholic church.  Although she wasn’t personally connected to a particular denomination, she considered herself to be Christian.  She was a very spiritual person, reading both Christian and Buddhist inspirational texts. 

      In the Fall of 2020, Marlene was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer.  This came as a surprise, as Marlene took care of her health and regularly scheduled and received mammograms.  Doctors at Resurrection Hospital immediately put her on a chemotherapy regimen.  Within months, the tumors were shrinking, and everything appeared to be going well.  In September of 2021, Marlene began having dizzy spells, and headaches.  She was admitted immediately to Resurrection Hospital, where they administered radiation therapy to nodules that had spread to her brain.  In the hospital, her condition deteriorated rapidly, and she was transferred to the Rainbow Hospice on September 17, where she passed away three days later.  During the entirety of her ordeal, Marlene accepted her treatment, while acknowledging the potential fatality of her cancer.  She fought bravely without grieving or complaining.  Her survivors are proud of the way she handled her last days.  She died with dignity. 

      Marlene is survived by her husband Dennis Carroll; son Matthew Carroll, and daughter Jaclyn Carroll; and her sisters, Bernadine, Lillian, and Kristin.  Our hearts are with her as she embarks on her next journey. 

Per her wishes, Marlene will be cremated.  Arrangements are being made through the

Olson Burke Sullivan Funeral & Cremation Center   https://www.obsfuneralandcremation.com/

Feel free to post your memories on their site.

A memorial service will be held for Marlene:

On Friday, October 1st at 1:00 PM,

at the White Eagle Restaurant at 6839 N Milwaukee, in Niles, IL

In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to Amita Rainbow Hospice:

Mail donation to:

Amita Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care

1550 Bishop Court

Mt Prospect, IL 60056

Attn: Stacey Matschinegg

Please specify donations to Rainbow Hospice ARK

If you want to contact her direct:




Bernadine Lund September 26, 2021

Sister Smithville , Tennessee

So sorry for the loss of Marlene ! She will not be forgotten! Love Dina

Dennis Carroll October 03, 2021

Enter your relationship with Marlene M. Russ Chicago , Illinois

Marlene, Your memorial was beautiful and fun – just the way you would have liked it. Jackie put together a wonderful slide show. The kids took part in an opening “Candles” ceremony. Guests shared their memories of you. Your artwork received rave reviews. I spoke about how I already miss reading with you, talking with you, and miss just being next to you; even when you couldn’t respond. Those last few days, I talked constantly; about memories, the kids, their births, milestones, and anything that I thought might lift your spirits; and I told you “I love you” over and over. I know that you heard everything. What I didn’t mention is that I even sent you a couple of e-mails saying, “I Miss You”. Why would I mention that when I know you received them? I’ll love you forever, Dennis

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Olson Burke-Sullivan
Funeral & Cremation Center
6467 N Northwest Hwy
Chicago, IL 60631