Chuck Onofrio, that Great Lion of God, died exactly as he lived. An attorney and a Christian, he spent his life advocating for life, from conception to natural death. He was, in fact, the author of Amendment 3, which prohibits the use of tax dollars for abortions and is now a part of the Colorado Constitution. When his own body became frail and his organs failed, he declined all extraordinary measures to prolong his life. His loving family, as well as the wonderful Agape Hospice, cared for him at home, and when his heart?that extraordinary...
Chuck Onofrio, that Great Lion of God, died exactly as he lived. An attorney and a Christian, he spent his life advocating for life, from conception to natural death. He was, in fact, the author of Amendment 3, which prohibits the use of tax dollars for abortions and is now a part of the Colorado Constitution. When his own body became frail and his organs failed, he declined all extraordinary measures to prolong his life. His loving family, as well as the wonderful Agape Hospice, cared for him at home, and when his heart?that extraordinary heart?finally failed, he spent his last minutes in the arms of his sweetheart, his life's love, Helen. The date of his death illumines his life as well. This gentle, devoted lover of Mary, the Mother of God, died on October 6, the vigil of the Feast of the Holy Rosary. Chuck prayed the rosary every day, meditating on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and praying for peace in every corner of our world and in the troubled corners of our hearts.
He had the challenging life of a first generation Italian immigrant growing up in north Denver in the first half of the twentieth century. His mother Angelina died giving birth to his sister Ange. His father Peter then married Clara Petrocco, who lovingly raised Chuck, his sister Ro and her biological child Fred. Another family member adopted his other sisters, Dorothy and Ange. Chuck attended North High School, but, for the first and only time in his life, he dropped out. He chose instead to serve as a U.S. Marine in 1943, climbing palm trees in the Solomon Islands in order to hang communication cables in support of the nearby Guadalcanal campaign.
After the war Chuck made short work of finishing high school, college, and the Westminster Law School (now D.U.). But all of that is just prologue. The first act of his life began when he met Maria Elena Getrudes Mondragon while working at the highway department. That "cute Mexican girl" quickly became the great passion of his life. They put aside an elaborate, formal wedding to celebrate their marriage with the parishioners of Mount Carmel Church at the 11am Sunday Mass, June 8, 1952. Soon after, St. Rose of Lima Church?the little church with the big heart?became their parish, and it was there that their eleven children were baptized and received all their sacraments.
It wasn't until Angie (Mick) White, Bernadette (Jack) Beesley, and Chuck were born that a friend noticed that they were named in alphabetical order. Dino (Lori),deceased 10/28/15, Eugene (Lori), Francine, Gregory (Carol), Helen Marie (stillborn), Ilene Vivinetto, Julie (Don) Trujillo, and Kristie (Larry) Donathan were all born over the next twenty years. The musical, warm Onofrio family grew to welcome grandchildren Preston, Katie O'Malley (engaged to Tomas Prochazka), Tess (Jeffrey) Merdel, Marissa Vasquez (Sharif Abdelhamid), Derek (Sarah) and their children Catie and Hannah, Lars, Taylor McHenry (Tony Gibalski), Jordan (Ralph Hinton), their daughter Savannah, Bailey (engaged to Alex Thomen), Gregory, Andrew, Danielle (Mark) Davis, their son Harrison, Chad Patacky, Victoria and Ryan Vivinetto, and foreign exchange student HauYong, Alex and Matthew Trujillo, Mariah (Cameron) Moore, and Haley Donathan.
If you knew him, you loved him. His legendary gentleness and quiet strength ensured that he brought his Lord Jesus into every room.
Celebrate his life with all who loved him by praying the rosary at 10:30 am, followed by the Mass of Christian Burial at 11am, on Thursday, October 13th, at St. Rose of Lima Church, 355 S. Navajo St., Denver, 80223. A reception follows in the church basement. Internment with military honors will be at Ft. Logan Cemetery, 4400 W. Kenyon Ave., Denver., at 2:15pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to St. Rose of Lima for a new sound system
Arrangements under the direction of Olinger Crown Hill Mortuary, Cemetery & Arboretum, Wheat Ridge, CO.