Merced County Times Newspaper
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Johnnie Rocha, sports standout in Merced, dies at 98

Jan. 27, 1921 - July 21, 2019


Johnnie M. Rocha of Merced, was born January 27, 1921 in Massachusetts to Manuel and Mary Rocha. He passed away on July 21, 2019 at home with his loving wife Rosie of 60 years at his side.

In the 1940s, Johnnie played semi-pro baseball in Modesto for 7 years. He managed a championship baseball team for the Merced City League from 1951 to 1954.

In 1956, Johnnie was the president of the league and he organized the first Merced City Softball Tournament and was president of the Softball Association. He was also a member of the A.S.A Umpires Association. In 1963 he organized fundraising for the Bowl Down for the Cancer Society.

He enjoyed bowling and was a member of the Merced Men’s Bowling Association for 20 years. He also  helped organize the Three Gateways Sportsmen’s Club in 1968 and was a co-founder and chairman of the Merced County Sports Hall of Fame. He was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1976.

Johnnie was also a member of the Merced County Historical Society and was honored in 2011 in the Merced County Old Timers Association.  Johnnie loved to hunt and fish and he planned an annual mens trip with his family at Porcupine Creek in Yosemite.

Johnnie is preceded in death by his parents Manuel and Mary Rocha; his sons, Gerald and Daniel; his daughter, Nicolette and his sisters, Mary Lemos and Lillie Standifird.

He is survived by his loving wife Rosie Rocha; his children Gary (Ruthanne) Rocha, Patti Coffee, Pam (Gary) Larimer, Julie (Gary) Cornaggia. Along with 7 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, 1 great great grandchild and numerous nephews and nieces.

Remembrances can be made to The Kayla Bernardi Bee Positive Foundation, PO Box 307, Turlock, Ca. 95381 or the Merced County Historical Society Courthouse Museum, 21st and N Street, Merced, Ca. 95340. On behalf of the family, they would like to thank all his caregivers for their caring dedication to Johnnie.

There will be a vigil held on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Stratford Evans Merced Funeral Home located at 1490 B Street, Merced. A rosary will be recited at 6:00 p.m.. A funeral mass will be held the next day July 31, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Merced, with interment following at Calvary Cemetery.


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