Richard Milanovich was laid to rest on Wednesday, March 21st. He passed away on March 11th after a long bout with cancer. A Celebration of life was held at the Palm Springs Convention Center. It was probably the best place to hold all the over 4000 people that attended. A buffet lunch was provided as friends and family left the service that did not attend the trip to the cemetery.
Dignitaries and Tribal Members spoke about Richards accomplishments in the Valley and for the Tribes. He was Tribal Chairman for 30 years. He brought passion for life and the Tribal ways in those years. He was an instrumental force in the building of the casinos in our area. Gaming in the casinos was largely due to his involvement at the State level. He was always considerate to those in need and a friend to all that knew him. He had this magnetic personality that shown because it came from his heart.
The service was not allowed to be photographed by photographers so I will try to tell you what it looked like inside the convention Center Were the speakers and the service was held. I was awed by the way the casket was presented to guests. The casket was covered by a white Agua Caliente Flag. The stage where he laid was like a desert scene. Palm trees of all sizes in the back ground and huge boulders on the floor. A large photo of Richard Milanovich was hung between the tall palm trees in the center. Speakers spoke at a podium just below that photo like he was looking down at them and smiling. It looked like a Traditional area for a member of the Tribe to be put to rest.
The ballroom area was filled with people with very few empty seats. He was such a beloved man that a huge crowd wanted to be a part of this special last occasion to honor him. Everyone was given a booklet about the service, the speakers and his life. A tribute to a great leader and friend. He held many titles both Tribal and state wide in his amazing career as a leader.
Eulogies were given by State leaders such as Governor Jerry Brown, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack and City Mayors Kathleen DeRosa,G.Dana Hobart and Steve Pougnet. Chairmen from many California Tribes and other Tribal Leaders and Friends and his daughter Tristan Milanovich gave touching eulogies. A private burial was attended by Family, Tribal members and Invited guests.