*** Please note the update: per order of Vice Chairman Tavaglione, flags at county-owned and leased facilities will be flown at half-staff until January 10. ***
LA QUINTA – A funeral Mass for Supervisor John J. Benoit will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in La Quinta. A reception at St. Francis will immediately follow the funeral.
A rosary will be said at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 9 at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, 47-225 Washington St., La Quinta. Public viewing will be available from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday.
Benoit, whose public service spanned a lifetime and helped shape issues statewide, passed away Monday evening at his Bermuda Dunes home. He had been battling pancreatic cancer.
Benoit, 64, spent decades serving as a member of the California Highway Patrol, a school board member, state lawmaker and county supervisor.
Benoit’s fellow supervisor, Vice Chairman John Tavaglione, has canceled the Riverside County Board of Supervisors’ Jan. 10 meeting to accommodate the funeral.
“We are devastated by this loss,” Tavaglione said. “John was dedicated to the Coachella Valley and to the residents he served. For him, problems and challenges were simply opportunities to work with people on all sides and develop real solutions. I will miss him terribly as a friend and colleague, but his loss to the community is incalculable.”
“We are all saddened by the passing of our brother, Chairman John Benoit,” said Supervisor Marion Ashley. “His legacy of achievement and care for the County of Riverside and the Fourth District are well-known, and his many accomplishments are lasting. Our hearts go out to his family, staff and friends.”
Among Benoit’s proudest accomplishments were closing Duroville, a dilapidated mobile home park where egregious living conditions existed for years, and releasing funds from the state to relocate 181 families from Duroville into safe housing.
Benoit was instrumental in redirecting plans for county jail expansion from the Whitewater area near Palm Springs. The East County Detention Center, currently under construction in Indio, is driving nearly a half-billion dollars in public safety and infrastructure investments to improve community safety, create hundreds of construction jobs and generate new business opportunities downtown.
Benoit considered his greatest blessings to be the love and support of Sheryl, his wife of 38 years, and his family, which includes daughter, Sarah; a son, Benjamin (wife Jaimie); brothers Mark and Paul; and grandchildren Abrielle and Nick.
Benoit was a United Way of the Desert board member since 1989, a member and past president of the Indio Rotary, and a committed parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church. A Renaissance man, he was a longtime ham radio operator, aviator, avid reader and a patent-holder, and an enthusiast of space exploration and technology.
In honor of Supervisor Benoit, the American flag, the state flag and the POW/MIA flag will be flown at half-staff at all county-owned and leased facilities until January 10.
In lieu of flowers, the Benoit family is requesting that donations be made to the United Way of the Desert, P.O. Box 13210, Palm Desert, CA 92255.