Porterville Council Member Pete McCracken Passes Away at 72

The City of Porterville has lost a longtime public servant.

Council Member Pete McCracken, 72, passed away at Sierra View District Hospital Saturday. He had been hospitalized late last month after suffering a heart attack but was re-elected to a third term on the council on June 3. McCracken had also recently been told that he was suffering from cancer. According to close friend and former mayor Ron Irish, doctors believe McCracken’s death was cancer-related

"He made decisions based on logic, not emotion," said Mayor Cam Hamilton. "He was able to digest things and come up with what he thought was best for the community."

Council Member Virginia Gurrola echoed that sentiment, saying McCracken kept the council “focused on policy.” But she also evoked a lighter side, recalling McCracken’s love of cooking and dancing.

McCracken first moved to Porterville in 1976. He served as chairman of the city’s planning commission before winning election to the council in 2006. In addition to previous stints as mayor and vice mayor, he also served as the city’s representative to the Consolidated Waste Management Authority board for Tulare County, Chairman of the Internal Audit Committee of the City of Porterville, and as Chairman of the Council of Cities.

McCracken held a degree in agricultural engineering from California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and was a veteran of the U.S. Army. Prior to his tenure in public service, McCracken did agricultural consulting work for the World Bank in Portugal, Jordan, Egypt, Thailand, and Yemen, where he once operated a 24,710-acre farm. He also spoke Arabic.

McCracken leaves behind a wife and son, as well as three step-children.

The City Council can either appoint a replacement or have the mayor authorize a special election.

Read more about Pete McCracken here.