- December 27, 1951 - December 26, 2016
- Bermuda Dunes, California
of John's Passing
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FitzHenry-Wiefels Palm Desert
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“I saddened by John's untimely death. May God bless him in heaven
1 of 3 | Posted by: Paul Dhaliwal - Blythe, CA
“You will be missed, even from those you didn't know.
2 of 3 | Posted by: Warren Hewes - Gulfport, MS
“John was a hero to me and my wife Trish and our son Pary. The sudden onset of his illness and his untimely death came as a complete and devastating...Read More »
3 of 3 | Posted by: Paul Benoit - RIVERSIDE, CA
Riverside County Supervisor John J. Benoit died at 9:30pm on Monday, December 26, 2016 at his home in Bermuda Dunes with his family at his side. He was 64.
His death followed a weeks long battle with pancreatic cancer that forced the former California Highway Patrol officer to cut short a political career that lasted nearly two decades.
John J. Benoit spent 31 years in law enforcement and went on to have a long career in public service - entering politics when he was chosen to fill a vacancy on the Desert Sands Unified School District in 1999 to the California Assembly in 2002, and Senate in 2008; and finally the County Board of Supervisors, from the Coachella Valley to Blythe.. During that time, he secured millions in air-quality improvement funds and oversaw countless infrastructure and construction projects that included the new jail in Indio. "It wasn't something I planned all my life, but I would say I was always politically interested and listening to what was going on," Benoit said in a 2014 interview. "A lot of it is timing and being prepared when the opportunity came along."
Benoit told the Desert Sun at the time that he's been waiting for the opportunity to run for County Supervisor. The chance came earlier than he'd expected, making his state Senate tenure brief. Just before former Riverside County Supervisor Roy Wilson died in 2009, he named John J. Benoit his chosen successor, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him to the vacancy.
Months later, Benoit took 56 percent of the vote to win a full four-year term on the Board, and he won re-election in 2014.
"His job was the biggest. Of all the supervisor districts, he had the largest one," Patricia Saleh (Thousand Palms Community Councilwoman) said. "But if you wrote him, you'd get an answer back from him."
The position got Benoit involved with the Coachella Valley Association of Governments and its executive director, Tom Kirk, also praised him and his leadership skills.
"John J. Benoit was an avid reader of political history. What he may not have appreciated is that his friends, colleagues and staff turned to him -- rather than one of his favorite founding father biographies that he was fond of lending - - to learn how to advance public policy with purpose, poise and always guided by a strong moral compass," Kirk said in a statement. "I was proud to work with and for him, and lucky enough to have him as a treasured friend."
John J. Benoit is survived by his wife, Sheryl; son, Ben (Jamie) Benoit; daughter, Sarah Benoit; grandchildren: Abrielle and Nick; and brothers: Mark Benoit and Paul Benoit.