Marlene Kokalj, 80, passed away on Thursday, January 19, 2023, in Orlando, FL.
Marlene Kokalj was born on August 15, 1942 in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to her late parents Nicolas Zegarra and Natividad Bustamante de Zegarra.
Marlene graduated from Colegio Aleman Santa Maria in 1961. She was grateful to be able to stay at home with her children and her job as Mom was cherished. However, once her children were older she started her career as a Spanish Teacher at International Language Plus in Cincinnati, OH. She taught executives from global companies and was recognized for her skill and loved by her students.
Marlene married Alojz (Lou) Kokalj in Cochabamba, Bolivia. They were together for nearly 50 years. The couple had 2 children, Natalia O'Driscoll and Lou Kokalj.
Marlene was best known for her unwavering devotion to the Catholic Church. She lived in New Jersey , Ohio, Alabama and finally Florida and in all of these places the first thing she sought out was a church. She was always active in the church and made countless, lifelong friends. Marlene enjoyed dancing and would be the first and last off the dance floor. She loved music and would turn the radio on as soon as she woke and left it on all day. She loved to eat at restaurants and whenever possible indulged in a big slice of cake with a glass of champagne.
Marlene celebrated life and adored all holidays, especially Christmas. She never forgot to send a card or make a call on someone's birthday. She was fond of dogs and several pups held a special place in her heart (Randy, Kooper, Leo & Sherman).
Marlene was salt of the earth. She could talk to anyone about anything. There was never a person that walked away from having a conversation with her that did not say she was the sweetest person they had ever met. She was genuinely funny and had a knack for perfectly timed one-liners. Marlene was the embodiment of laughter and joy. Being in her presence made you feel special.
But above all else, she was most proud of her role as grandmother or as she liked to be called, Ita. She loved to FaceTime Lucas, and although distance separated them that did not stop them from playing, and they created their own games. She rejoiced in his accomplishments. He was her light and she took strength from the love they shared.
Marlene is survived by her beloved spouse, Lou Kokalj, children Natalia O'Driscoll (Patrick), Lou Kokalj (Denise), and her grandson Lucas O'Driscoll. Marlene also leaves her siblings Orlando Zegarra, Eduardo Zegarra (Hilda), Maritza Munoz (Mario) and Elizabeth Zegarra, along with many cousins, nieces and nephews. Marlene is preceded in death by her parents and her sister Sara Zegarra.
Visitation will be held on Thursday, February 2, 2023 from 5pm - 8pm at Colonial Funeral Home (located at 2811 Curry Ford Rd. Orlando, FL 32806).
The service for Marlene Kokalj will be held on Friday, February 3, 2023 at 9:30 AM at St. James Catholic Cathedral (located at 215 N. Orange Ave., Orlando, FL 32801). Parking is available in the MAA Robinson Parking Garage, 310 N. Orange Ave, Orlando, located diagonally to the church.