Funeral Services Set for March 19 for Late Assemblymember

PALM DESERT — Funeral services for Brian Nestande are set for 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 19 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 43775 Deep Canyon Road.

A reception will follow the Catholic Mass.

In lieu of flowers, contributions are welcomed to support the essential services for children and families in the Coachella Valley through Olive Crest. Donations can be directed to Olive Crest online at

Nestande, 60, was a former state assemblymember and Riverside County administrator who managed the successful congressional campaign for former Palm Springs Mayor Sonny Bono and served as his chief of staff. He died March 4. See our initial story here:

Friends became concerned about Nestande after he failed to show up Tuesday for an election night party for Republican senatorial candidate Steve Garvey at the JW Marriot Desert Springs Resort and dropped by his Palm Desert home about 2 p.m. Wednesday, according to Marc Troast, a spokesperson for the Nestande family.

They were able to gain access into the house, where they found him deceased, according to Troast, who served as Nestande’s district director in the Assembly from 2013 through 2014.

Nestande served as an assemblymember for the 64th and 42nd Assembly districts from Dec. 1, 2008, through Nov. 30, 2014.

Nestande’s wife, Gina, a Palm Desert City Council member, was out of town Tuesday at the time of her husband’s death, Troast said.

It was unclear how Nestande died. A cause of death is pending an autopsy, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

“It is with profound sadness that we share the passing of Brian Nestande,” said Assemblymember Greg Wallis, R-Bermuda Dunes, who served as Nestande’s campaign manager in 2014, in a statement.

“Brian Nestande was not just a trusted friend and mentor but a true champion for the community. His pragmatic approach in working with colleagues across the aisle and advocating for good government policies no matter where they came from is something I will take with me throughout my career,” Wallis said.

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is also mourning the passing of Nestande, who was the current Treasurer and former Chair of the Mount San Jacinto Winter Park Authority, governing body for the Tramway.

Nestande was appointed to the Tramway board by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors on Sept. 20, 2016, and has served ever since.

“We were shocked and saddened to learn this news yesterday,” said current board chair Jeff Ohlfs. “On behalf of my fellow directors, we send our condolences to his wife and children, and thank him for his many years of dedicated service to the Tram.”

Tramway General Manager Nancy Nichols added, “We lost a true friend of the Tram this week. His board contributions were numerous and crucial during his nearly eight-year tenure. With sad hearts, the Tram staff and I send our deepest condolences to his family. He will be greatly missed.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.


Image Sources

  • 2024-Brian-Nestande-Younger-v2-800×568 (1): Courtesy photo