Pastor Linda Snyder was hospitalized in January for a wound that would not heal and doctors found necrotizing fasciitis, the so-called "flesh-eating bacteria," KTXL-TV, Sacramento, reported.
"It's coined this name because it is such an aggressive germ. It does tend to cause a syndrome that people worry the flesh is being eaten. That's how quickly the flesh is destroyed," Dr. Lynn Fitzgibbons of Kaiser Permanente's infectious disease department told the television station.
Parishioners remembered Snyder for her energy, humanity and devotion to her congregation and husband of 37 years.
She died Tuesday, little more than six months after she was hospitalized with the disease, and suffered complications that scarred her lungs and contributed to pneumonia.
"She was a woman of faith and that gave her the strength and passion to live her life," said her daughter, Karen.
Family and friends will celebrate her life June 30 at a gathering at the Japanese Methodist Church in Sacramento.