October 2010


Remembering Our Beloved Friend, Dean Rocha  

 As most of you know, Dean died on September 11th.  During our Worship Service last Sunday, I detailed the way in which the Lord extended His arm of salvation to Dean, and the sincere expectation that Dean is now in glory.  Again, I want to praise God for the ministry of this Church family to Dean throughout his time with us and especially during the recent physical affliction which ended Deanís earthly life. 

Dean was born in Inglewood, CA, on October 23, 1969.  He moved to Holland, Michigan along with his parents, his younger brother and younger sister, when he was five years old.  In Holland, Dean lived most of his life.  He was always known for his outgoing personality, his kindness toward everyone, his thoughtfulness, his willingness to help others, and his extra-ordinary work ethic.


Dean loved to wrestle, and despite his slender frame he excelled in this sport in high school.  He possessed strength greatly out of proportion with his slender frame.  As a result, often Dean was very successful wrestling others who were in a higher weight category.  He set the record at his high school for one-handed push-ups.  To date this record has not been broken. Wow!  Deanís plaque for this accomplishment still hangs on his high- schoolís ďwallĒ.


After news of Deanís death became known to his friends and family, Deanís mother, Chris, was very blessed by the unusual number of Deanís fellow students who responded.  All of them had such encouraging things to say about her son.  Dean was outgoing and friendly.  He was respectful of other people.  As a result, his investment in friendships in school was not forgotten by his peers even over twenty years later.


Early in his life, Deanís God-given ability as a gifted artist was very evident.  He had a tremendous ability to draw and paint. Deanís specialty was drawing pencil sketches, although his gifts in this area were varied.  He also was blessed with the ability to paint on canvas with oil, and water colors.                               


Dean displayed unusual abilities to draw and paint with meticulous detail, although he was able to complete his work with remarkable speed.  If someone asked Dean to draw something quickly, he could create a beautiful image in just a few minutes.  He had a particular love for painting lighthouses, penguins, churches, and angels. Dean also was skilled at drawing flowers.  He loved orchids.  He grew these gorgeous flowers as a hobby.  In his hometown of Holland, tulips were ďbigĒ.  In high school, he won more than one competitive tulip painting contest sponsored by a Michigan Cadillac dealership.


After graduation from high school, Dean was accepted into a very prestigious art school in Detroit - Center for Creative Studies. Dean excelled in this academy where he was admitted into the school based entirely on his obvious artistic gifts.  Unfortunately, the school was located in a very dangerous section of Detroit.  Due to problems with the local gangs that made life treacherous for Dean combined with the heavy financial load of attending the Center, Dean left art school and did not return.


As a young man, Dean worked as a designer of posters advertising the products of his employer, and he also designed blueprints and marketing  posters for a  large product line.  In addition, he sold his own art work on occasion.  Dean also worked for a while in Kentucky on a horse ranch.


As I mentioned last Sunday, Dean was a very religious person.  From his youth into his adult years, Dean remained very active in ministry in his Church.  He served very earnestly in a variety of areas, and especially enjoyed visiting those in the hospital and singing in his Churchís choir.  He also designed the art-work for the music and sermon CD jackets for his Church.


About 3 to 4 years ago, Dean experienced significant personal hardship which began when he moved from Michigan to Buellton.  What followed was a difficult path leading to homelessness and heart wrenching unemployment.  Dean strove to make ends meet by walking miles a day to collect and redeem recyclables.


His years at our Church also occurred during the most difficult time in Deanís life.  However, Dean was never one to complain or feel sorry for himself. Despite his obvious personal difficulties, Dean carried himself with personal dignity and a heart that was free from malice toward others.  Deanís Mom knew that Dean had been hurt deeply by people who were very close to him.  She marveled at the extent to which her son was able to extend forgiveness and maintain an excellent attitude toward those who had done her son much harm.


I would add that Dean was sincere, very respectful of others, tenacious, witty, intelligent, zealous for God, loving of others, and extremely devoted to his family and friends.  I will always remember Dean for his kindness toward

everyone.  I am confident that he would never hesitate to help anyone in whatever way he could.  We will miss Deanís friendly presence in our Church, and with earnest hope I look forward to seeing him in the eternal glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

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Community Church of the Santa Ynez Valley
240 E. Highway 246
Buellton, CA 93427