Procession honors late Sonoma County Sheriff’s lieutenant

The procession was prior to a private memorial for Sonoma County Sheriff’s Correctional Lt. Robert Travelstead in Santa Rosa.|

People lined the streets of Sonoma County from Windsor to Santa Rosa on Tuesday to say goodbye to Sonoma County Sheriff’s Correctional Lt. Robert Travelstead, who died earlier this month from COVID-19 complications.

The procession was prior to a private memorial ceremony honoring Travelstead at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts on Mark West Springs Road in Santa Rosa. Only friends, family and members of law enforcement were allowed into the event.

The procession started in Windsor at 7:30 a.m. and traveled along Shiloh Road east, then turned right onto Old Redwood Highway where it traveled southeast, and ended at the Luther Burbank Center, according to an invitation posted to the Sheriff’s Office’s official Twitter feed on Sunday.

The private Celebration of Life service began at 9 a.m., officials said adding that all attendees were required to submit proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours to enter the Luther Burbank Center.

Travelstead died Sept. 1 from complications of COVID-19. He was 40.

Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Juan Valencia said officials believe Travelstead was infected at work and his case has been dubbed a “line-of-duty death.”

Valencia said the Sheriff’s Office was informed on July 31 that Travelstead had been hospitalized for COVID-19. That was about one week after a COVID-19 outbreak started at the Sonoma County Jail, infecting 31 inmates and resulting in the quarantine of 12 staff.

Travelstead, a 14-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Office, is the second local law enforcement officer to die after catching the coronavirus.

Santa Rosa Police Detective Marylou Armer, 44, died on March 31, 2020. She was the first California peace officer to die of COVID-19 complications.

“Throughout his career at the Sheriff’s Office, Bobby was very involved in the Peer Support Program and truly understood the importance of taking care of each other,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a written statement announcing his death. “Bobby’s personality and sincerity made him a well-liked co-worker and respected leader.”

Friends described Travelstead as having a “heart of gold” and who was “one of the most remarkable men that you would ever meet.”

He grew up in Galatia, Illinois, and attended college at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee. While there, he played for the college baseball team.

Having grown up just two hours from St. Louis, he rooted for the Rams on the gridiron and the Cardinals on the diamond.

Travelstead was devoted to his two teenage daughters, supporting their participation in cheerleading, basketball and volleyball, colleagues said, adding that he also coached baseball at Windsor High School for at least two seasons.

Before starting his law enforcement career, Travelstead served five years with the Navy.

He was a field medical corpsman for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force during the Iraq War and was deployed to Southeast Asia during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

UPDATED: Please read and follow our commenting policy:

  • This is a family newspaper, please use a kind and respectful tone.
  • No profanity, hate speech or personal attacks. No off-topic remarks.
  • No disinformation about current events.
  • We will remove any comments — or commenters — that do not follow this commenting policy.