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Saleh M. "Sam" Samarrai

Saleh M. Saleh (Sam) Mahdi Samarrai died Saturday, July15, 2017, at his residence at Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community.

Mr. Samarrai was born November 22, 1928, in Baghdad, Iraq. At the age of 17, he was offered a position on a British professional soccer team but turned down that proposal for his dream of coming to United States to attend college. Sam initially started at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and then attended Colorado State College.

In June 1947, Mr. Samarrai joined the United States Army and completed basic training at Fort Ord, California where he was assigned to the Intelligence Operations and given the rank of Technical Sargent. Later, Sam was transferred to Ft. Riley, Kansas where he reached the rank of Staff Sargent.

While at Ft. Riley, Sam met and married Shirley M. Howard, who was enlisted in the women’s Army core and also stationed at Ft. Riley. He was honorably discharged from the Army June 21st, 1950. On May 26, 1952, Sam became a United State citizen.

During his years in Manhattan, Sam worked maintenance while attending Kansas State University where he completed his Bachelor of Science degree. He later worked as a salesman for the Ford motor company and soon opened his own dealership called Sammy’s Motors. There after he purchased Manhattan’s Lincoln-Mercury automotive agency.

In 1961, Sam moved his family to Baghdad, Iraq to tend to health of his mother and father. From 1961 – 1966, while in Baghdad, Mr. Samarrai worked for the United States State Department.

In 1966, Sam and his family returned to Manhattan and became a real estate broker and started Samarrai Real Estate Agency. Later in 1973, Sam worked in commercial real estate and development until his retirement in 2013.

Mr. Samarrai’s was preceded by death of his mother in December 1965 and by his father in 1979. Sam was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley in February 1982.


Mr. Samarrai is survived by his wife, Ranchara. They were married in January 2002 and had been married for 15 years. They visited Thailand several times, the home country of Ranchara.

Sam was a loving and devoted husband and dedicated father. He is survived by his son, Paul K. Samarrai and grandchildren Vanessa Samarrai and Susan Giefer and her husband, Jeff Giefer and great grandchildren Haley and John Giefer.

His son, Charles N. Samarrai.

His son, Mark C. Samarrai, grandchildren Heather Flanary and her husband Brian Flanary and great grandchild Will Wright and his wife Mariana, Xavier Wright and Elijah Wright; grandchildren Amanda Ryker and her husband, Ronnie and great grandchildren Taylor Ryker, Austin Ryker and Madison Ryker; grandchild NiCole Aguilar and her husband, Vicente, great grandchildren Christian Aguilar and Savannah Aguilar.

His daughter, Sharon A. Sandate and grandchildren Alex Sandate, his wife, Breanna Sandate and Natalie Sandate Lima and great grandchildren Dali Sandate, Ayala Lima and Ilda Lima.

His daughter, Marianne K. Rickenbaker (deceased February 1997), grandchildren Darren Holladay and great grandchild Connor Holladay, grandchildren Rachel Johnson and Mark Rickenbaker.

As well as being an entrepreneur, loved family and friends being around him; he loved to cook dinner for all, playing chess and bridge and backgammon. He was a loyal Kansas State football and basketball fan.

Sam sponsored athletic and Political Science scholarship for many American and foreign national students. He was a mathematician and astute in Political Science. He was able to play the bongo drums, liked music, photography, movies, world traveling and shopping.

Sam was compassionate heart and a strong will; he was brave and honorable and spoke his mind candidly. He will be missed greatly by his entire family and many friends.

A private service was held at Sunrise Cemetery here in Manhattan on Saturday, July 29, 2017.

Online condolences may be left for the family by clicking on "Send Condolences" on this page.

The Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502, assisted the family with arrangements.

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