CATHEDRAL CITY – A public Celebration of Life for the late Mayor Gregory S. Pettis, the longest-serving councilmember in the city’s history, is set for Friday, Feb. 1, the City Council announced Thursday.

The Celebration of Life is set for 10 a.m. at Big League Dreams Sports Park, Sports Pavilion, 33700 Date Palm Drive in Cathedral City. The ceremony, emceed by KESQ Meteorologist Patrick Evans, will feature dignitaries from the federal, state, county and local level.

Invited speakers include: U.S. Rep Raul Ruiz, U.S. Rep. Mark Takano, state Sen. Jeff Stone, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor V. Manuel Perez, and Cathedral City Mayor Pro Tem Mark Carnevale.

“My heart and prayers go out to the family of Mayor Greg Pettis,” Ruiz said. “We will miss his tireless and selfless public service to our communities. He will always be remembered for his genuine concern for others. May he rest in peace.”

The Celebration of Life event will also feature the Cathedral City Police and Fire Honor Guard and Pettis’ beloved Cathedral City High School Choir. The award-winning choir performed at the inauguration of Pettis as mayor in December. You can listen to part of that inaugural celebration performance by clicking here.

Pettis worked tirelessly last year to help raise money so the choir could accept the invitation to perform at the Vatican. With the help of a generous community the choir made the trip with Pettis as one of the chaperons.

Also in attending the Celebration of Life event will be Mayor Pettis’ family members, city staff, friends, and colleagues. The public is welcome and encouraged to gather together, share the memories, and pay tribute to his lasting legacy.

The Celebration of Life is tailored for a man who loved pageantry and ceremony. The inauguration ceremony for himself and newly elected Councilmembers Carnevale, Raymond Gregory, and Ernesto Gutierrez was rich with ceremony and ritual. The swearing-in ceremony, Pettis said at the time, was choreographed by city staff with some of his ideas.

The inauguration reception featured the Mariachi Arcoiris De Los Angeles, the world’s first Mariachi to represent the LGBT community. Cathedral City High School Color Guard also was featured. Sean Milanovich of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians delivered a tribal blessing that included smudging.

The City Council and staff knew Mayor Pettis well and knew he would revel in this pageantry.

A Celebration of Life reception will follow the ceremony onsite.

With a large crowd expected to attend the Celebration of Life and limited parking available at Big League Dreams Sports Park and the adjacent Cathedral City Public Library, SunLine Transit Agency is offering free shuttle service between Cathedral City’s downtown parking structure located next to City Hall, 68-600 Avenida Lalo Guerrero, and Big League Dreams Sports Park.

The shuttle service will pick up the first group of riders up at 9 a.m. and will provide shuttle service back and forth through 1 p.m.