Henry Rocha, 90, and a longtime resident of Santa Barbara, died peacefully in the company of his family on Sept. 13, 2012.
Rocha was born on Sept. 22, 1921, to Jose and Carmen Rocha in Durango, Mexico, but came as a 2-year-old to live his lifetime in Santa Barbara. He attended Lincoln Elementary, Santa Barbara Junior High and Santa Barbara High schools.
Soon after, he began to work at the Johnson Lemon Packing facility, where he met his future wife, Concha.
Rocha was drafted into the Army at the time of the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He served in the forces for two years and later joined the U.S. Navy for an additional nine years. His travels took him to Africa, Korea and Italy, where he proudly became a U.S. citizen. After serving our country, he came back and worked in machine shop and electronics.
“Hank” was happily married 61 years to ‘Tia Concha and was a proud father and roller-skating teacher to the batty twins Charlie and Arthur. Formal, soft-spoken and friendly, Rocha’s favorite activities were volleyball, water skiing, the beach and traveling.
For 16 consecutive years he traveled to Cancun and, rain or shine, he was the last one off the beach before enjoying the company of his native friends. Later he would travel to Europe and in his last trip to Italy in 2003 he visited Florence, Tuscany, Piacenza and Montecatini, where at the foot of the “Horse and Wings” statue he fondly and sadly but proudly, remembered his days in the military.
At home, Tio Henry enjoyed driving his yellow Challenger to the beach, watching classic John Wayne movies, listening to his collection of 78 rpm records, visiting with his grandkids and occasionally dedicated Por unos Ojos Verdes to his lovely wife.
Rocha leaves a legacy of respect, discipline, ethics and always doing the right thing.
H was preceded in death by his parents, Jose and Carmen, and his brother, Benjamin. He is survived by his wife, Concha Rocha; sons Charlie and Arthur; and also leaves behind his grandson Danny Rocha (wife Kelli), granddaughter Rae Ann Westlake Rocha and great-grandkids Thomas Henry and Harrison Patrick Rocha, along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Henry Rocha, you may be in heaven now, but on Earth you will not be forgotten. Your loving extended family prays the Padre Nuestro on your behalf. Until we meet again!
The rosary will be prayed at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19 at Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapel, 15 E. Sola St. Mass services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 227 N. Nopal St.