Jose “Joe” Valentine Rocha was born August 10, 1931, in San Bandan, Terciera, Azores in Portugal. Joe passed away September 26, 2022, in Fortuna.
Joe was preceded in death by his son, John Rocha and sisters, Theresa Rocha, Mary Frietas and Edith Rocha.
He is survived by his wife of 46 years Gail Rocha and daughters, Carmen Rocha and Mandy Rocha; sister Elmira LeScog and brother David Rocha; grandchildren Conner Newbry, Dillion Newbry, Savanah Jacobs, Christopher Jacobs, Lowel Archambault; great-grandchildren Zaiden, Carter, King and one on the way; nephews Lionel, Tony, Danny, and Todd; niece Maggie.
As a child in Portugal, he worked in his father’s blacksmith shop until at the age of 12 he started working at an American Air base during WWII. At the age of 17 Joe moved to the United States and worked as a milker on a dairy farm in Gustine, California from 1948 to 1950.
At the age of 19 Joe moved to Humboldt County, where he worked at Pacific Lumber for 16 years, from 1950-1966.
At the age of 35, Joe moved to San Rafael, where he worked in a brickyard until 1969. He then at the age of 38 moved to the Rohnert Park/Cloverdale area to work at the Golden Gate Bridge from 1969 to 1992, when he retired.
After retiring in 1992, Joe moved his family back to Humboldt to the Rio Dell area where Joe spent his remaining years.
Joe was a people person and never met a stranger. If you met Joe, you remembered him. He was not called “Wild Man Joe” for no reason, although most knew him as “Portuguese Joe.” Joe was big, loud and very proud of his Portuguese heritage. He LOVED riding his Harley. He loved cars, motorcycles and airplanes. In reality he just loved going fast.
There will be a celebration of Joe’s life Saturday, October 29, 2022, at 2:00 PM at the Rio Dell Fireman’s Hall.
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