George Valenzuela Rocha

In loving remembrance of George Valenzuela Rocha

George Valenzuela Rocha left this earth peacefully, at the age of 75, with his devoted wife of 52 years, Christine (Lara) Rocha, by his side on the morning of Feb. 24, 2023, in Chandler, Arizona. Up until the day he passed, George was constantly surrounded by his family who deeply cared for him through the years, while comforting him with foods and music he loved, coupled with some laughs and reminiscent stories.

George was born into a large family on Jan. 4, 1948, in Sonora, Arizona; he was one of nine children. As a young boy, his family moved to Miami, Arizona, grounding his roots in the copper-mining town that he was always proud of and will forever call his “true home.”

Always keeping his mother on her toes with his rambunctious soul, George completed his high school diploma, receiving his GED through his service with the U.S. Army aft er enlisting in April 1966. He then proudly served two tours in the Vietnam War as a medic/dental corp. George was honorably discharged in March 1969. He was such a proud veteran even after all of the painful experiences that came with it. Shortly after coming home from Vietnam, he was employed by Copper Cities Mine.

On a cold winter day in December 1969, George found himself inside United Jewelry in downtown Miami, and was quickly smitten after being helped by Christine, asking her if he could come back at the end of her shift to drive her home that evening...and the rest was history. They married in May 1970 at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church in Miami; four years later their firstborn son, Alex, came along.

Upon Copper Cities Mine closing, George was transferred to Pinto Valley Copper. While he worked hard during the day, he attended evening classes at Gila Pueblo Community College, ultimately graduating with an associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. On weekends, he continued to serve his country by joining the Arizona Army National Guard in Glendale alongside his brother-in-law, Lieutenant Colonel Antonio M. Sanchez, D.D.S. Also, during this busy stretch of time, George and Christine welcomed the birth of their daughter, Angela.

Once the strike began at Pinto Valley Copper, George desired to seek  some stability to care for his growing family. He always took pride in providing for them, so he started a career with the Arizona Water Company, where he proudly worked for nearly 30 years as a serviceman.

George continued to further his education, becoming certified in wastewater management by taking courses at Rio Salado College. George always had the desire to learn and further educate himself. Maybe that’s where his love for books and reading began and continued through the years. Although his retirement with the Arizona Water Company was unexpected, he accepted the next phase of his life.

George has always been a playful child of God. He truly was a big kid at heart. To say we will miss him dearly is an understatement.

George enjoyed his time with his children – especially countless trips to visit his grandchildren Clara and Emilia in Tucson and Mateo in Chandler. He lived his life to the fullest with them, watching many movies and eating an abundance of popcorn, stacks of pancakes and frozen yogurt. He always enjoyed introducing his children, Alex and Angela, to music and appreciated it when they taught him about new musicians as well. He loved music and had countless records, tapes and CDs through the years that traveled long roads with him. He loved listening to Bob Dylan, Latin jazz and the oldies. He also enjoyed watching boxing and college football – always rooting for the underdog. He loved old Italian movies from the 1960s starring Sophia Loren, who he thought resembled his wife, Christine. He loved to read about philosophy, science and religion. George always enjoyed going to the gym, swimming, going to concerts, museums, botanical gardens and even traveling to new places such as New York, D.C., Utah, Seattle, Chicago and New Mexico to name a few.

George lived a very full yet simple life. He was a Rhymer and a ‘Timer. The last few years of his life slowed down – but in a good way. Although we know he longed for the good ‘ol days because he loved to relive his glory days with all his childhood buddies and laugh about it all again, we truly believe he enjoyed being able to spend valuable time with his wife, children and grandchildren – making memories that are forever engrained in our minds and hearts. Even through his spicy temperament, we knew he loved us all dearly. We have only ever wanted the best for our beloved George. Taking him to the finish line full of grace and comfort is something we will never, ever forget.

George leaves behind his wife, Christine Rocha; son, Alex Rocha (granddaughters, Clara Rocha and Emilia Rocha); daughter, Angela Menninger (husband Nick Menninger and grandson Mateo Menninger); sisters Virginia Scheier and Lupe Johnson; and many loved nieces and nephews.

George will be remembered on Saturday, April 15 with a Rosary at 9:30 a.m., followed by a Mass at 10 a.m. at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament Church, located at 844 Sullivan Street, Miami, Arizona. A luncheon hosted by the family to celebrate George’s life will take place after the Mass.

Dad, may God bless you always, as he has you now. We love you, we miss you, and in the words of Bob Dylan, May You Stay Forever Young.