Alumna turns tragic chapter of her life into 40 years of service in the healthcare field


In 1977, Bobbie Wiles (74’) called Willcox, Arizona, her home. She was on the cusp of young adulthood in her early twenties and worked locally as a medical assistant. She’d grown up in a small town, met a “small-town boy” and was ready to become a “small-town girl.”

“It was the kind of life I’d set out to live,” Wiles explained.

Wiles said she fell in love with Bub Hood, a local farmer from Willcox, Arizona.

The two were engaged and married that summer and looked forward to their life together.

But in a series of tragic events, the newlyweds found out that Bub Hood was drafted into the Vietnam War and while the couple adjusted to the news, Bub was tragically killed in a car accident on June 15, 1972, abruptly ending the small-town future Wiles had in store.

“It was definitely hard on me, being so young and being widowed. My life started and stopped in a matter of three months,” Wiles explained.

Wiles said she needed something to pick herself off the ground.

“I was a medical assistant, and I knew I was good at it. People had always told me and encouraged me to become an RN, and that’s what I wanted to do. So, while I was still mourning my late husband, I applied to the Cochise College Nursing program,” Wiles said.

Wiles applied to the program in late July and was rejected, but after a stroke of luck, the college board pulled some strings, and that August, Wiles was enrolled in the college’s nursing program.

“I was 23 years old, and I was one of two widows in the nursing cohort. I was good at school and excelled in my studies. I graduated in May 1974,” Wiles said.

Wiles went on to work in Willcox at the local hospital and then at Mesa Lutheran Hospital in Mesa, Arizona. She would eventually earn her Bachelor’s in Science from the University of Phoenix and her Master’s in Nursing. She also earned her Family Nurse Practitioner Certificate in May 2008 and completed the Nurse Educator Certificate program at Arizona State University in 2007.

“Cochise College really saved my life. I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t go to Cochise. Cochise College helped me change a life-altering event into something positive. Plus, I remarried two years later and am still married to the same wonderful man today. We also have two adult children who are successful in their careers,” Wiles said.

Wiles is celebrating over 40 years of service as a nurse. Currently, she is working as a family nurse practitioner doing primary care and cardiology to the homebound. She says she looks forward to retiring in the near future.

To find out more about the Cochise College Nursing program, visit their website at cochise.edu/nursing.