It was not a good-bye, rather a celebration of life for Mayor Greg Pettis of Cathedral City who was the longest seated counselor and mayor in the desert.
Pettis was known for his devotion to public service, but to his closest friends like Cathedral City resident, Simeon Den, he was more like a brother.
“How much he’s actually accomplished, how many lives he’s touch,” Pettis said. “And so you forget about it because he’s like a brother, so like your brother you don’t really know what they’re doing in their professional lives and when you get to see the full scope of what they do it’s like.”
Den was part of the community who knew Pettis well out of the public eye, and so did his nephew Steve Pettis.
Pettis said, “He was my uncle and kind of kept it at that, which was nice, but it was very cool to look and see the impact he made everywhere else.”
He was also the first openly gay elected official in the county, he inspired at least one current member of Congress, Congressman Mark Takano, to pursue office while embracing his identity.
“Really inspired to learn about Greg’s failed tries to become a member of the city council here,” Pettis said. “The conservative elements that were wanting to push the gay establishment out of Cathedral City so Greg was really a pioneer.
He is also described as a pioneer with many passions, Pettis led the beautification projects in Cathedral City, improved local roads, and embraced a diverse community of arts.
Mayor Steven Hernandez of Coachella said he was a man with plenty of experience and never afraid to share his opinions.
Hernandez said, “He was able to cross a lot of hurdles, and collaborate with folks and get a lot of things done.”