Remembering Rafaela ‘Chata' Mendoza Arellano

Vincent Schilling

May 9th, 1942 - December 2nd, 2019

Rafaela Mendoza Arellano was born in Etiwanda, California on May 9th, 1942 and passed peacefully in her home on December 2nd, 2019 after a courageous battle against ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease.

She was an enrolled member of the Pascua Yaqui tribe. She’s joined in heaven by her mother Triny Ortega, stepfather Carlos Ortega, father Gilbert Mendoza, brother Gilbert Mendoza Jr., and Aunt Mary Sierra. She is survived by her loving dedicated husband of 49 years, Felipe Arellano, her children Felicia Arellano, Karena Luna (Paul), Felipe Arellano Jr. (Amanda), and Michael Arellano. She leaves her legacy with 9 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren, Audriana Gutierrez (Julie), Anissa Gutierrez, Magen Luna, Theodore Gutierrez, Kaysea Luna, Bradley Arellano, Harley Metz (Brian), Mason Luna, Grant Arellano, Sierra Moore, and Theodore Gutierrez Jr and baby Elias due soon.

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Rafaela, known as Ralphie to her coworkers — who became friends and then family — worked for several orange packing houses since the age of 15. She then worked her most important and valued job to her as a mother and homemaker for several years then went back into the workforce to help provide a better life for her family with the American Can Company in Alta Loma as a packer for over 10 years until its closing in 1989.

She then worked for Caterpillar in Ontario as a logistics clerk for 14 years until her retirement in 2004. Rafaela is known to her family as “Chata,” was admired for her amazing cooking, her love for her family and friends and her ability to be there for anyone in need. Her home was the start-up for so many family and friends.

If anyone ever needed a place to lay their heads, a warm meal or a place to stay, it was often her home. She was the one always taking care of everyone. She is the true matriarch of her family. Though she loved sports and enjoyed watching baseball, football, and basketball, none of the sports or teams could compare to the love she had of watching her grandchildren and great-granddaughter play the sports that they loved. To say that her grandchildren and great-grandchildren were the loves of her life or her reason to keep pushing and fighting is an understatement. Every day she woke up, she fought to have another day with them and create another memory.

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She will be missed more than can ever be expressed in words.

Services will be held at Mount View Cemetery 570 E Highland Ave San Bernardino CA 92404. Viewing will be on Tuesday, December 10th from 5 to 9 pm with Rosary at 7 pm. Services with burial will take place on Wednesday, December 11th at 9 am. Reception for the celebration of her life to follow at her family home.

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