Otis Wiley was born in Merkel, TX on October 31, 1938, to L.T. “Fireball” Wiley and Leona Andrew, where his grandfather, Enoch, was Pastor of The Mission Church. His Grandparents were the First Black Settlers in the History of Taylor County.
Otis passed away quietly on March 14, 2020, surrounded by loved ones.
Otis attended school in Trent, TX where he ran track, and played Basketball and Baseball. As a teen, Otis learned the art of butchering, later taking a job at the Merkel Locker Plant. Through his extended family, he picked up the art of Calf-roping, starting his Rodeo career, and becoming one of the few Black men roping in his day. Otis decided not to go pro in Calf roping, but continued to enjoy doing what he loved, roping, and riding horses winning himself numerous awards.
Otis played baseball for several years, pitching in the Semi-pro Abilene Sports League, once a Saint Louis Cardinals Farm Team. He even took up wrestling in the early 60s but gave it up after injuring his knees. He also coached Little League and Colt League. Otis loved children and being active, Volunteering endless hours with Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Abilene State School, and West Central Texas Council of Governments.
With no college education or Law Enforcement experience, and while working for the City of Abilene Sanitation Department, Otis applied for a job with the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department in February of 1967. Sheriff George Maxwell hired him, making Otis the First Black Sheriff’s Deputy in Taylor County. Otis learned Law and worked his way up to the Warrant Department, eventually proceeding to Academy Training. Otis was promoted to Lieutenant, then Captain. Otis’s career continued to prosper, having been recruited by the Department of Public safety, other Sheriff’s Departments, the Texas Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) Agency and the U.S. Marshall’s office. Otis turned them down, being handpicked by then-District-Attorney, Ed Paytner. He chose to work in the District Attorney’s Office and was quickly transferred into the position of Investigator where he stayed for 20 years. After 30 years in law Enforcement, Otis retired from fighting man’s crime and took up God’s Crime fighting.
Coming out of King Solomon Baptist Church, A member of Greater Abilene Ministers Alliance (GAMMA) Otis became Pastor of Goodwill Baptist Church, preaching God’s word and leading the way for many young Ministers. Always crediting all he has done to God, Otis continued to lead his congregation until his failing health forced him to retire from the pulpit after 20 years. He continued to serve doing daily devotions and attending Pasadena Community Heights when able.
Otis was preceded in death by His Parents: L.T. Wiley and Leona Dickey; His sons: Willie Stephens and Jeffery Stephens.
Otis is survived by his Loving wife: Bettie Wiley; Two sisters: Regina Wiley and Phyllis Wiley, both of Ft. Worth, TX; 6 daughters: Debra Bennet(Chester Bennet) of League City, TX, Lisa Price of Dallas, TX, Loretta Early, Billie Sneed, Betty Sneed Payne, and Margret Sneed Talley (Terry Talley) all of Abilene, TX; 1 Son: Jimmy Stephens of Abilene, Tx.;16 grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends to cherish his memory.
We Will Miss Him Dearly….