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Veteran of the U.S. Army and funeral director Carl J. Erlinger, born Feb. 3, 1953, in East. St. Louis, Illinois, passed away peacefully July 24 in Tucson, Arizona.

Husband of Mauricia Estela Erlinger, living in Tucson; father of Kelly Sonsoucie (Erlinger) and her husband John Sonsoucie, living in Swansea, Illinois; Carl Christopher Erlinger and his wife, Alisha Erlinger, living in Smithton, Illinois; stepfather of Salvador Nava and his wife, Mariela Gasca Lopez, living in Fort Lupton; and grandfather of Kennedy Sonsoucie and Nick Reimler of San Marcos, Texas; Allison Erlinger, living in Smithton; Kyle Erlinger, living in Topeka, Kansas; and Andrew Nava Gasca, living in Fort Lupton. Carl had many cousins, aunts and uncles.

Carl was a kind and very honest man who cared and looked out for those who cared for him. He was a perfectionist when it came to himself and for other people and their families, He knew how to make them laugh, smile and feel comfortable in a way people felt safe.

The pets he had through out the years, he cared for them and was always buying them treats and making them feel like part of the family 365 days a year, and they all loved him very much and protected him til his last moments.

Mr. Erlinger, in the 1970s, was co-owner of State-Way Ambulance Service. After many years he decided to open Carl Erlinger Ambulance Service for 13 years. He attended mortuary school at Forest Park Community College in St. Louis, Missouri, and obtained his Missouri funeral director’s license. He went to work at Alexander and Sons on Rock Road St. Louis, Missouri. In 1984, he moved to Tucson as funeral director at East Lawn Mortuary SCT. In 1987, he moved to Denver and worked at Archdiocese of Denver Mortuary Unit 1. He opened his first funeral home, Avalon Funeral Home, in Lafayette, in 1987. He opened his second funeral home, Erlinger Funeral & Cremation, in Fort Lupton. In 1998, Erlinger opened Rose Cremation Society in Denver. In 2018, he and his wife, Estela opened Lopez Funeral Home in Aurora.

In December 2018, Erlinger was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer until his death. Even though at the end it was hard for him, he stayed strong and kept his mind positive and, with good care, he was able to be at peace.

Funeral service will be at Valhalla Mortuary Chapel.