Walter M. Rocha, 66, Bristol
Colt State Park was his back yard and baby
Walter M. Rocha, 66, of Bristol, died Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017 at Rhode Island Hospital. He was the husband of Rose (Ferrara) Rocha.
He was born in Feteiras, Ponta Delgada, the Azores, Portugal, a son of the late Jose and Maria (Raposo) Rocha.
Walter was the Park Manager of Colt State Park for 20 years before he retired. Samuel P. Colt established the Colt Farm in the early 1900s; he would have been proud of Walter’s stewardship, as Walter had an integral part in caring for the property we know as Colt State Park for over 35 years.
Walter began his career with the State D.E.M. Parks and Recreation Division in 1972. He rose through the ranks to Caretaker Supervisor in 1976, and then Park Manager in 1986, where he continued in that capacity until he retired in 2007.
As park manager, Walter was responsible for the State of RI’s East Bay recreational areas, which include the East Bay Bike Path, and Haines Memorial State Park. He oversaw full time maintenance staff as well as dozens of seasonal park rangers. Walter took pride in his work as well as his contribution to the quality of life for the many thousands of people who visited Colt Park during his career.
Walter had been a Bristol resident since he 10 years old, coming from Portugal, and he was a parishioner of St. Elizabeth Church.
He was a life member of the Bristol Fire Dept. Hydraulion’s Engine 1, a member of the Bristol ELKS and was a former trustee for them. He was a member of the Bristol F.O.P. Lodge 28, and was on the Bristol Fire Police.
Besides his wife, he leaves two sons, Walter B. Rocha of Bristol and Raymond Rocha of East Providence.
He was the brother of Joseph “Joe” Rocha of Tiverton, Fernando Rocha of Bristol, and Mariano “Mario” Rocha of Somerset, Ma. He was also survived by many nieces and nephews.
His funeral will be held at 9:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 3, from Smith Funeral and Memorial Services, 8 Schoolhouse Road, Warren, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 11 a.m. in St. Elizabeth Church, 577 Wood St., Bristol. Burial will follow in the North Burial Ground, Hope Street, Bristol.
Relatives and friends are invited to attend. Calling hours are Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.
Gifts in his memory may be sent to the Bristol Rescue Department, 4 Annawamscutt Drive, Bristol RI, 02809.