Alabama Academy of Honor


Bob Riley

The following biographical sketch was compiled at the time of induction into the Academy in 2003.



Governor Bob Riley was sworn into office as Alabama’s 52nd chief executive on January 20, 2003, after representing the state for six years in the United States Congress. In 1996, Governor Riley, then 52, ran a successful Congressional campaign in his first run for state or national office and kept his pledge to serve only three terms.

Governor Riley was born and raised in the small Clay County town of Ashland, Alabama, where his family has lived on ranches and farms for six generations. After graduating from the University of Alabama at age 20 with a degree in business administration, he returned to his hometown, married his high school sweetheart, and started a small business with his brother selling eggs door-to-door. That small, family-oriented venture grew to become one of the largest integrated poultry operations in the Southeast.

For 32 years, Governor Riley ran a number of successful businesses including a trucking company, a car dealership, a real estate company, a grocery store, and a small pharmacy. He has also been a cattleman for the last 25 years, having more than 400-head of cattle on his Ashland ranch.

He comes into office as governor during troubling financial times for the State of Alabama, emphasizing that “Alabama’s government was established to serve the citizens, not the system.” Governor Riley has pledged a host of reforms, from constitutional to budgetary, to reshape Alabama’s government into a model of efficiency and competency and to provide services that will improve the state.

Governor Riley has been very active serving his community as both a Shriner and a Mason. He and his family are members of the First Baptist Church of Ashland, where he taught the men’s Sunday school class for a number of years and also served as chairman of First Baptist’s Board of Trustees.

Governor Riley is married to the former Patsy Adams, also from Clay County. The Rileys were blessed with four children: Bob, Jenice, Minda, and Krisalyn. Jenice, the Riley’s first daughter and the campaign’s fundraiser, passed away in August 2001 after inspiring hundreds of people through her courageous fight against cancer. The Rileys are the proud grandparents of two granddaughters and one grandson.