Cover photo for Maritza Alberta Samaha's Obituary
Maritza Alberta Samaha Profile Photo
1925 Maritza 2024

Maritza Alberta Samaha

September 13, 1925 — May 20, 2024

Carlisle Chapel

        Maritza “Mutze” Samaha passed away on 20 May 2024 after 98 beautiful years.  Maritza was born 13 September 1925 in Skrilje, Slovenia, only child to Srechko Dragin and Ernesta Chermelj-Dragin. She attended schools in Slovenia learning French, Italian and German in addition to her native Slovenian language.  As World War II broke out Maritza’s father enlisted in the army.  He sent Maritza and her mom to Alexandria, Egypt to live with Maritza’s aunt Maria where he felt they would be safe.  She continued her education finishing 2 years of college learning Arabic and English.  Her fluency in 6 languages gained her the opportunity to work in many adventurous positions. One of her jobs was working for a large Scandinavian shipping company as an interpreter.  

       She eventually met the love of her life, Gaston. They married in 1955 and started their family in Alexandria, Egypt. When not raising their two children, Peter and Michaela, they spent much of their time with their very dear and best friends Emile and Mary Assaf. These four musketeers were terrific dancers and often spent evenings in some very exciting nightclubs of Alexandria dancing until their feet hurt. Maritza and Gaston always wanted a better life for their family, they spent years planning to immigrate to the US. Finally, in 1963, on Maritza’s Visa, they made their dreams come true and immigrated to the United States in April of that year. They subsequently sponsored many members of the Samaha family to immigrate to the United States on that same Visa.  Their plan was to go to California, however, not without a visit to see their best friends Emile and Mary and their 6 children living in Albuquerque. That stop changed their plans and lives and they found Albuquerque to be their forever new home.

      Once settled in Albuquerque, Maritza worked for Blue Cross Blue Shield and shortly after that she accepted an Administrative Assistant position at the University of New Mexico Med School in the Biochemistry department. She could type well over 120 words per minute on an old IBM Selectric typewriter, her fingers barely touching the keys. She typed out hundreds of handwritten pages of complex scientific words, symbols, and formulas for Grant Applications, all during a time with no computers, so no mistakes were allowed, or you’d have to start that page all over again.  Her secretarial skills and knowledge of 6 languages also helped her in that position.  She retired from UNM after 20+ years where she made many long-life friends whom she loved dearly and talked about quite often at the dinner table.  Many of them remained in her life until her final days.  

      Maritza was nicknamed Mutze, which translates to kitten in Slovene, by our father and all her family, adored her children and grandchildren and spent as much time as she could with each of them, giving them as much love, knowledge, and support as she could.  If she saw an article about new technology or new innovations, she cut it out and saved it for us all to read.  Knowledge and education were important to her as well as teaching all her family dignity and grace. She loved learning, to say the least, and taught Italian at the Senior Center for several years. She even taught the staff at her Senior Living Facility to say “Buona Notte” which means good night in Italian each night before she went to sleep. 

     On February 26, 2024, she became a great grandmother to Aria Brian Gonzales, frequently telling her family she just wanted to meet her great grandchild before she passed. Spending time with Aria gave Mutze great joy and peace in her final days. 

     Maritza is preceded in death by her husband, Gaston.  She is survived by her son, Peter Samaha; his wife, Tamara; and their two daughters, Victoria, and Leandra Samaha. She is also survived by her daughter, Michaela O’Malley; her husband Brian (deceased); and their 2 children: son, Shane O’Malley and his wife, Jenny; and daughter, Erin Gonzales; her husband, Isaac, and their 4 children, Brody, Bentley, Carter and Aria. 

In lieu of flowers please make donations to The American Heart Association or to the charity of your choice. 

** The mass will be Live Streamed for out-of-town family and friends! (more Information Below)

God Bless!

Services will be held: 
Monday, June 17th, 2024
To Begin: 
10:00 am
Services will be held at: 
Our Lady of the Annunciation Catholic Church
Located at: 
2621 Vermont St NE, 
Albuquerque, NM 87110

Live Stream Link Below:
**Link to live stream the service will be available on the day of the service**

Please connect to:  or scroll down below to view live stream day of service.

Service Schedule

Upcoming Services


Monday, June 17, 2024

10:00 - 11:00 am (Mountain time)

Our Lady of the Annunciation Catholic Church

2621 Vermont St NE, Albuquerque, 87110


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