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Arthur Rock Jr., homeless advocate and veteran, dies at 77

WHITTIER – Arthur Harry Rock Jr., an outspoken advocate on local homeless issues and a founding member of the Whittier Consortium on Homelessness, died Sunday after a brief hospitalization. He was 77.

According to friends, Rock was rushed to Whittier Hospital Medical Center over the weekend where he went into cardiac arrest. He couldn’t be saved.

In a statement, the consortium hailed Rock as “part advocate, part civic sage and full Whittierite.”

“A Vietnam veteran who experienced homelessness, but with a spirit of determination and with the faithful help of community, he had a better life,” the consortium said. “We will miss his booming, sage voice at council and WCH meetings.”

Councilmember Henry Bouchot also sent his condolences.

“I’m saddened to learn of the passing of Arthur Rock, homeless advocate and veteran,” Bouchot posted on Facebook. “I will forever miss his thoughtful comments at city council meetings. Fair winds and following seas Art.”

Rock served in the U.S. Navy from 1960-66 and settled in Whittier after an honorable discharge. In the 1980s, he and his second wife, along with their children, lived in various motels along Whittier Boulevard. When they couldn’t afford a motel, they stayed at the Pico Rivera campgrounds.

Rock worked various fast food jobs and later worked for Mattel before becoming a victim of layoffs. He later became a deacon at Whittier Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Rock ran for Whittier City Council in 2006 but was never a serious candidate, raising less than $1,000. He continued his local advocacy, however, on a platform of human rights.

He joined the Whittier Consortium on Homelessness in 2016 and also belonged to Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans.

Rock is survived by sons Chris Rock and Robert Rock; daughter Angela Stacy; grandsons Chris Jr. and John Anthony; granddaughters Ashlea and Alisa; sisters Betty, Cheryl and Linda; along with several great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews.

A public funeral service is scheduled for this Monday, Dec. 23, at 10 a.m. at Seventh Day Adventist Church, 8841 Calmada Ave. The family is collecting donations via Facebook to help offset funeral costs.

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