Obituary: Merle Jean Dulien |

Obituary: Merle Jean Dulien

Merle Jean Dulien
Provided Photo
Merle Jean


November 13, 1935 – October 28, 2020


November 13 1935 – October 28 2020

On Wednesday, October 28, the beloved Merle Jean Dulien peacefully passed on after a prolonged illness. Merle was in her home in Aspen surrounded by loved ones. Merle’s favorite place on earth was Aspen Colorado and she moved here permanently in 1970.

Merle was born in Seattle, Washington November 13, 1935 as the firstborn of Ann and Louis Dulien. She spent her early years in Seattle and Southern California. Music was an enormous part of Merle’s life and Merle was a dear friend of Glen Yarbrough. He told Merle about a magical place named Aspen and the Aspen Music Festival. Glen owned the Limelite Lodge where his band the Limeliters would regularly perform. So in the summer of 1959 Merle and her mother drove to Aspen whereupon Merle fell in love – with Aspen. Reluctantly her mother left Merle in Aspen safely ensconced at the Aspen Meadows in the midst of the epicenter of what modern Aspen was. In fact, in 1961 she was crowned WinterSkol Queen at the Hotel Jerome by none other than Walter Paepcke.

Merle worked for several iconic businesses during her early years in Aspen including Aspen Sports and the fledgling airline that was called Aspen Airways located in a hangar at Sardy Airport. This was home and she knew she’d be back. She left Aspen for Los Angeles for a time in the ’60s but later returned to build her dream home in 1970 with her then-husband Gene Law. Merle dove right into all that Aspen had to offer (except skiing which was never her thing). She loved and supported the arts in Aspen and was a faithful contributor and subscriber to the Aspen Music Festival & School, Theater Aspen, Food & Wine Classic, the Comedy Arts Festival, Aspen Film, Denver Theater and more throughout her long life here.

Merle’s dogs were a huge part of Merle’s life and love. In fact, the Mary Eshbaugh Hayes photographs of Merle receiving her crown for Miss WinterSkol show her with her Chihuahua in one arm and scepter the other. So Merle. She adopted several of her puppies from one of Merle’s favorite charities, the Aspen Animal Shelter. In recent decades she was particularly fond of Bichon Frises. She would often enjoy walking along the Rio Grande trail or around the Aspen Meadows with her dogs.

In the 1970’s she opened a needlepoint shop named the “Needle and I” on Hopkins in one of the original Victorians that still lined many streets in Aspen in those days. In addition to Aspen, Merle found her other Soul-place on this planet: Sequim Washington. Glen (Yarbrough) also introduced her to that charming town along the coast of the Olympic Peninsula where she purchased a home on a quiet road overlooking Puget Sound. She loved walking along the beach with newly found friends and, of course, her beloved doggies.

In the 1980’s in Los Angeles Merle met her spiritual teacher, John-Roger, the head of the Movement of Spiritual Inner Awareness (MSIA). She became an ordained minister in the church. Holding the focus of inner and outer Peace, she traveled the world with John-Roger through Peace Theological Seminary and College of Philosophy (PTS). She earned a Master’s degree in Spiritual Science through PTS. She was highly regarded in the church for her loving dedication and unfailingly kind and supportive expression. She will be missed.

Merle Dulien was known to all who ever came in contact with her as one of the most kind, loving and generous souls possible. She always managed to believe in others even when they might not have believed in themselves. Probably Merle’s most notable gesture was always offering the finest dark chocolate to each and every one she encountered.

Merle leaves behind her loving family: brother Mike Dulien; nieces and nephews – Hillary Dulien, Brooke Dulien, Louis Dulien (Ashlie Zussman Dulien), Logan Dulien (Ashley Carter Dulien), Alexandra Dulien, and Elizabeth Dulien; her grand-nieces and nephews – Analise Dulien, Jagger and Bowie Dulien, Ryder and Ruby Dulien. In addition to her family, Merle leaves behind her many caring friends both here and around the globe. We all are missing you, sweet Merle. “Love & Light, Heart to Heart, Bye for now.”

In light of Covid restrictions, a Celebration of Life will be held sometime during the summer outside in the town she loved so much. In lieu of flowers please make contributions to the Aspen Animal Shelter in memory of Merle Dulien. Please contact Jeannie Carter at for more information.

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