SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Joseph Centeno spent decades of his life serving the people of Santa Barbara County.
"They say there are still horses and there’s workhorses ... Joe is definitely a work horse. ... he wasn’t going to go try to grab the spotlight in the limelight he got a lot done but most of it was behind the scenes," said county supervisor Steve Lavagnino.
The former supervisor of Santa Barbara County passed away over the weekend leaving behind a legacy.
He also served as the Mayor of the City of Santa Maria.
"He’s always looked to justify his decisions in the interest of everyone ... and when he left city politics he wrote an open letter to the community saying that it was among the greatest privileges of his life to have serve this wonderful community," said spokesperson Mark van de Kamp of the City of Santa Maria.
City leaders say he had a passion to help children in need.
"He left a legacy ... the county deemed one of his buildings in his honor to which he simply said, I’m very humbled by that," said van de Kamp.
A white wreath is on display at the building in honor of Centeno's life.
"He was highly professional ... very dedicated to his responsibilities as a public," said city councilman Mike Cordero.
Van de Kamp said Centeno's death was not announced right away out of respect for his family.
Lavagnino described Centeno as "a leader with a life time of service."
One of his signature projects was making sure children in Cuyama had a swimming pool.
Centeno helped create the Joe Centeno Aquatic Center.