Boating was always a part of Bob Wiley’s life. As a child in the 1960s, his summers were spent on his family’s houseboat on Pickwick Lake, one of only two houseboats on the lake at that time. He grew up swimming, water skiing, high diving off the infamous Water Fall, and sleeping under the stars on the banks of the Tennessee River. His love of the outdoors and the water continued as he earned the Eagle Boy Scout Award, and all through high school and college. After graduation from Mississippi State University, he joined the family business, Comfort Engineering, married Debbie Smith Wiley and settled in Tupelo to raise his family. He rebuilt his first pontoon boat soon afterward, and in the years to follow enjoyed a variety of watercraft. His three children, Matt, Katherine, and Preston, grew up spending weekends and summers at Pickwick. Teasingly called “little River Rats”, Bob taught them at a very young age to fish, ski, sail, and all matter of boatmanship- from steering and anchoring to docking and engine maintenance. He began to continue those lessons with his young grandchildren.
Bob was a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and was always quick to lend a hand to fellow boaters, whether repairing an engine, teaching a new boat owner to handle his vessel, or quietly retying loose dock lines on a boat whose owner was absent. He was the first to join in for special events and cook-outs at Eastport Marina or the Hollow. He loved exploring coves and inlets, rafting boats together with friends on lazy summer afternoons, and cruising the river in search of eagles on winter weekends. A year round boater, Bob especially loved sunset cruises, watching the sun set over the horizon in the west while the moon rose in the east. Fall and winter days were spent ATV riding the trails and hills of Tishomingo County. Naturally, his favorite holidays were Memorial Day, July Fourth, and Labor Day.
Born in Tupelo, July 30, 1956, Bob Wiley passed away on Labor Day weekend, September 6, 2015, at Eastport Marina on Pickwick Lake, Iuka.