John Caetano Rocha, age 97 passed away peacefully on December 5, 2019.
John was born on August 7, 1922 in New Bedford, Massachusetts to Portuguese immigrant parents Maria (Freitas) and Joao Rocha. At the age of 7 the family relocated to Terceira, Azores, Portugal where he lived until his twenties. He was the eldest of five children, all of whom were very close. When he came back to America he worked on a dairy farm in Bakersfield but decided that wasn’t the type of work that fulfilled him. His love for work was on a lumber mill where he pulled green chain for many years. He was always and will forever be known as the strong man who pulled green chain without gloves.
He was a loving uncle to his family and his little nephews and nieces loved when he came to visit the central valley and took them out to ice cream. Finally, in his late thirties he fell in love with a photograph. He bought wedding rings and packed his bags and headed for the Azores. It was there that he courted the love of his life, Alvarina Rocha (Mendes) and they were married July 9, 1961. He brought back his beautiful wife to Humboldt County and shortly after they welcomed a daughter, Yvonne.
John always had a love for being healthy as he walked 5 miles a day up until the age of 88. He was often known as the man who walked all over Arcata in the early morning hours.
John loved to read books, especially on WW2. Some of his favorite gifts were gift certificates to bookstores. He loved the Dallas Cowboys and passed on that love to his daughter. John loved to dance, especially at the Arcata Portuguese Hall. Watching him dance as if he glided all over the dance floor with either his wife or daughter. John loved his Portuguese culture. He loved to travel and along his wife they traveled to many countries and went on many cruises. John had a love for simplicity and living life to the fullest. He retired at 59 because he wanted to take advantage of all that life had to offer. Above all he loved his family and God and was a devout Catholic.
Left to cherish his memory is his wife, Alvarina (Mendes) Rocha; daughter, Yvonne (Rocha) Cunha; granddaughter, Elizabeth Borges and her husband Joao Paulo and her father George Cunha; two great-grandchildren, Michael Borges and Dahlia Borges, his brothers, George Rocha and Carlos Rocha and wife Clara and many wonderful nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents, John was preceded in death by his sisters Maria Mendes and Alice Mendes.
John’s family would like to thank the doctors and staff at Mad River Hospital who helped John during the last days of his life. They’d also like to thank his long time physician, Christopher Lee, M.D.
A viewing will be held at Paul’s Chapel in Arcata on Monday, December 16th from 2pm-6pm and a rosary and funeral Mass will be celebrated at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Arcata on Tuesday, December 17th at 10am, followed by the burial at Sunset Memorial in Eureka.
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of John’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.
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