Former county sheriff passes away at 87

Retired Tulare County sheriff Bob Wiley passes away, leaving behind a storied legacy in the form of his surviving family and many accomplishments

Bob Wiley Detention Facility signage located on the east side of Rd 112. (Kenny Goodman)
Bob Wiley Detention Facility signage located on the east side of Rd 112. (Kenny Goodman)
Brock Linebaugh
Published August 25, 2023  • 
12:00 pm

TULARE COUNTY – Sheriff Mike Boudreaux was saddened to announce the passing of Bob Wiley, a highly respected retired sheriff, who served Tulare County from 1967-1991. He died Saturday, Aug. 18 at 87 years old.

Survived by his wife of 65 years, Sonja, and their three children, Wiley left quite an impressive legacy behind. After Sheriff Wiley retired in early 1991, the county’s newest jail at the time — which he opened in 1987 — was renamed the Bob Wiley Detention Facility.

This facility boasts a 700-bed capacity, making it Tulare County’s largest minimum-security adult detention site. It accepts detainees from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department deputies, and the Visalia Police Department, as well as federal agencies.

Among his other accomplishments, Wiley also served as president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, which is the same office Sheriff Boudreaux currently holds. 

Before he made strides in his career in law enforcement, Wiley graduated from Kingsburg High School where he was a standout football player and a track star. He was recruited to play football at Porterville College while he simultaneously worked as an extra help deputy and a rodeo cowboy, going on to participate in shows across the country as well as in Canada.

After beating long-time incumbent Sheriff Sandy Robinson, he served as the Sheriff of Tulare County for 24 years. He initially ran for the office in 1965, where he gained a good amount of traction due to being well known in the Porterville area, where he lived while attending college.

Sheriff Boudreaux has spoken with the Wiley family, and they ask for privacy during their grieving.

Brock Linebaugh