He passed away peacefully over the Christmas weekend at his home, county officials say.
BERMUDA DUNES — John Benoit, a longtime public servant for the residents of Riverside County, died over the weekend at his home in Bermuda Dunes, county officials say. He was 64.
Benoit was diagnosed with “advanced pancreatic cancer” in November. Since then, he had continued to carry out his duties for the county’s fourth district, on a reduced workload. He is survived by his wife, Sheryl; son, Ben and Ben’s wife Jaimie; daughter, Sarah; brothers Mark and Paul; and grandchildren Abrielle and Nick.
Benoit’s term expires at the end of 2018. Gov. Jerry Brown has the sole authority to appoint his successor. The Fourth District is the county’s largest, almost 5,000 square miles inhabited by more than 400,000 residents.
The supervisor was first appointed his seat in 2009 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger after then-Supervisor Roy Wilson stepped down for his own health issues. Wilson had personally recommended Benoit to take over his role.
His roots ran deep in Riverside County, having graduated from Notre Dame High School in Riverside as well as Riverside City College. He earned a bachelor of science degree in public safety from nearby Cal State Los Angeles and a master’s in public administration from Cal State San Bernardino. He also attended the FBI National Academy.
Bfore going into politics, Benoit spent 31 years in law enforcement, including the Corona Police Department and the California Highway Patrol. He worked patrols in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Bakersfield before settling in the Coachella Valley in 1988 after being promoted to commander of the CHP Indio Station, The Riverside Press-Enterprise reported. He retired from the CHP in 2001.
Benoit was first elected office was as a board member of the Desert Sands Unified School District. In 2002, he ran for state Assembly as a Republican and served three terms in that chamber before being elected to the state Senate in 2008.
Information on funeral services is expected in the coming days.