Michael J. La Rocco
Michael J. La Rocco of Reno, NV passed away peacefully with his family at his side after a short illness on December 23, 2022. A visitation will be held from 1:30 to 3:00 pm on Thursday, January 12, 2023 at La Paloma Funeral Services, 5301 Longley Lane, Ste. E-180, Reno, NV.
Michael born in Brooklyn, New York on November 3,1935 to parents, Nicholas and Prudence (Scuderi) La Rocco. He joined the U.S. Airforce in 1953 and was a gunnery airman on B-36/B-52 Bombers. He earned an Officers Commission and his Pilot Wings in 1960 where he flew the C-133 Cargomaster. He saw combat duty in Vietnam (68-69) as a Forward Air Controller (FAC) piloting the 0-1 Bird dog. Notably, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross twice in 1969. He retired from the Air Force in 1973 with the rank of Major. He went on to pursue higher education earning a Master degree at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan and was also a popular DJ in the Tokyo club scene. He moved to California in 1980 where he had a career in radio and was the afternoon host on the Leo La Rocco show at KUIC in Vacaville, CA. Moving to Reno in 1986, he worked various security jobs as well as being a sworn Police Officer for the Pyramid Lake Police Department. He was a Road Captain in the Harley Owners Group (HOG) with over 470 rides. He was also a proud member of the Patriot Guard and was well known on the local karaoke scene.
He was preceded in death by parents: Nicholas and Prudence, Brothers: Richard and Anthony;
Daughter; Cynthia; and Kathleen (Former Spouse)
Survived by Sons: Michael A. (Annie) La Rocco of Benicia, CA. and Vincent (Barbara) La Rocco of Reno NV, Angelo La Rocco of Las Vegas, NV; Former spouse, Yuriko (Yamada) La Rocco of Reno; 4 Grandchildren; 3 Great Grandchildren and multiple nieces and nephews.
Rest in Peace my friend…
I first met Michael in 1991 at Star 93 FM in Reno we only worked together for a couple of days, and he did not even remember our first meeting. We got to be friends in 1995 working together at Eagle 103FM in Carson City now Wild 102.9FM where I did the afternoon drive and Michael followed me for the evening shift; but I never called him Michael I always called him by his radio name Leo he told me he got the name Leo because the first station he worked at already had a Michael La Rocco so the program director there gave him the name Leo so listeners would be able to know who was on the air. After our time working together in radio was finished I asked if he wanted me to call him Michael but he said he liked that I called him Leo because it gave him a link back to his time as a DJ so to me and all the people in the local radio community he was always Leo so from this point on I will refer to my friend as Leo because I think he would probably like that. As things turned out Leo and I had a common interest in firearms and I joined Leo at many gun shows while he had his FFL license and he worked with me on my mobile DJ service where we did many weddings and corporate events and I’m sure many of you know that Leo could carry a tune and from time to time he would serenade the audience or group we were working for.
I believe the final wedding he was a DJ for was mine when I married my wife Dianna in 2014 which he did as gift for me and my wife, of course he did his usual magnificent job Leo always took his work seriously, he really was an excellent DJ and broadcaster, and he was always a pleasure to work with, or go hunting with, or hear a concert with, or just shoot the breeze with I was glad to call him my friend.
In 2021 I moved to Tennessee so the last time I got to see Leo was this last June when he was recovering from his operation for colon cancer and he seemed to be doing well at that time, and in spite of his health problems he was still optimistic about the future and always showed genuine kindness toward the hospital staff that were helping him thru his recovery. I want to thank his former wife Yuriko for letting me know about his final illness because it gave me a last opportunity to speak with him before he passed. I also want to thank his sons Angelo and Michael for keeping me in the loop about his health condition and his eventual passing. I know his family’s grief is deeper and more profound than mine as it should be, but I loved Leo too and I already miss my friend. But Jesus promised that the dead would live again, and that promise can be found in The Bible at John 5:28,29. So it is my sincere hope that I will see my friend again.