Obituary: Natalie ‘Flaca’ Samarripa


Natalie ‘Flaca’ Samarripa, age 64, passed away in Watsonville, California on March 1, 2021, due to various health issues. She was born Sept. 17, 1956, in Madera, California to the late Victor and Esther (Robles) Melendrez. At age 15, she married Joe Samarripa, who preceded her in death in 2010. They had two sons and one daughter. She leaves behind children Jose and Lorena Samarripa, Esther and Gil Ramos Jr., Alfonso Samarripa and Crystal Seaver and grandchildren Jose Samarripa V, Adrian Samarripa, Gil Ramos lll, Bianca Ramos, Tristan Samarripa and Jordan Samarripa of Santa Cruz county, Madera and Arizona. Also left behind are furbaby Chico and grandpups Chewy and Angel. They were all her pride and joy.


Natalie attended Lyle’s College of Beauty in Madera and upon graduation became a cosmetology instructor at the school. This is where she found her true passion of helping people feel beautiful. It was here she got the nickname Ms. Sam. For a short time, she opened The Wild Hair in Ripperdan. In the late 80’s, she worked at The Hair Studio until she had to change careers because of health problems.


She then attended Fresno State where she studied Chicano History and began to learn to play guitar. Around this time, Natalie was hired as an eligibility worker at the Madera County Welfare Department.


Natalie and her husband Pastor Joe were youth and ministry leaders at Madera Christian Fellowship. As a team, they worked to help many transform their lives. In 2001, they were sent to pioneer a church in Watsonville. They later became members of Green Valley Christian Center. During this time she was employed as a supervisor for Santa Cruz County Welfare Department until late 2012 when she retired due to declining health.


Natalie was known for her ability to conquer adversity. Despite her ailments and hardship, she always stood fast to her faith in Christ, which she shared at every opportunity. Her love, generosity, sense of humor and laughter will be missed. Natalie, “Aye, you dog” you left us too soon!

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