Wanda Janet Rocha
February 12, 1936 - July 23, 2021

It is with the heaviest of hearts and immeasurable sadness that we announce the sudden passing of our matriarch, Wanda Rocha, on July 23, 2021 at the age of 85. Wanda was born February 12, 1936 in Crystal, New Mexico to Sam and Frances Mose.

She spent most of her childhood on her family’s farm on the Navajo Reservation. Wanda later moved to Reno and worked at St. Mary’s Hospital. While she lived there, a love story unfolded. She was set up on a blind date with a recently stationed Air Force radio operator, Bob Rocha. It was love at first sight. In the words of her husband, “All it took was a single smile from her and I knew she was the one.” When Bob got out of the Air Force, he and Wanda got married and moved to Humboldt County where they started their family. They had three lovely daughters, Shirley, Sandra, and Sara. In 1962 she started working at Trinity Hospital and later moved on to Mad River Hospital in 1973. Wanda touched many lives, patients and co-workers alike, while she worked there. She started in the birthing center, where she worked for just over three decades, before moving on to the ICU. She retired in 2008.

Wanda loved to travel. She and Bob traversed all over the globe visiting friends and family. Every fall, she and Bob would return to her hometown to visit her family. Even though she lived far away, she always did her best to take care of her father and siblings. Wanda also took great pride in introducing her grandchildren to their native roots. Even though she left the reservation, Wanda held fast to her Navajo heritage. In her free time, Wanda loved to garden, bake, sew, and crochet. Anyone who knew Wanda knew she loved to bake and her baked goods were very well-known. Everyone could count on her to bring some sweet treats to her grandkids games and would line up when it was over so they wouldn’t miss out. When Wanda wasn’t spending time keeping her house immaculate, she and Bob could be seen at many local sporting events, cheering on their grandchildren. She also loved going to the local Crabs baseball games and watching the Golden State Warriors, AKA “her people”, play basketball. Wanda had a fierce love for her family and her grandkids. They were the light of her life. Her kind heart, strength, humor and traditional Navajo teachings will be carried on through them. Although losing her has been a great challenge to our family, we know she would want us to stay strong.

Wanda is preceded in death by: her father Sam Mose, her mother Frances Mose, Sister Jenny Mose, and brother Edison Mose. She is survived by: her husband of 61 years, Bob Rocha. Her 3 daughters, Shirley (Bobby) Girsback, Sandra Rocha and Sara Rocha. As well as 7 Grandchildren: Kellie (Amy) Shaner, Jason (Veronica) Girsback, Brandie Shaner, Derrick Girsback, Brooke (Joe) Ponte, Brian (Michelle) Dunsing, Brandon (Madeline) Dunsing and 17 Great Grandchildren. She also leaves behind her long time friend and coffee companion Nelida Mills, as well as many other dear friends. We will always remember her gentle heart, wise words, outlandish sense of humor and deep, deep love. She will always Walk in Beauty.

The family would like to thank everyone who has reached out and sent their condolences. The support is greatly appreciated in this difficult time. A private service will be held in her honor, for the immediate family, at a later date.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Wanda Rocha’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.