Gloria Jean (Conrad) Rybka passed away peacefully in Broken Arrow, OK, on September 1, 2019, at age 77 with family by her side.
Gloria was born in Ponca City, OK, on April 1, 1942, as the fourth child of John and Pearl (Whitesell) Conrad.
She worked as a news editor at Ponca City High School.
Although she made the Honor Roll in the College of Education at Oklahoma State University in 1961, due to lack of funds to continue, she took a job at Cities Service Company in Bartlesville, OK. It was there that she met the love of her life. She married Leo Rybka on December 29, 1962. They had one child, Stephen, who they raised in Bixby, OK.
After Stephen left for college, Gloria volunteered with Big Brothers and Sisters of Green County, where she was matched with Julie Thi Underhill, with whom she developed a profound lifelong bond.
For years Gloria took part-time college classes while working full time, raising Stephen, and nurturing Julie. In 1994 she earned her Bachelor of Science degree from Oklahoma City University.
She excelled in realms that showcased her innate compassion, vitality, and warmth. During her career, she worked on the management team for human resources at the University of Tulsa and was Director of Human Resources at Red Rock Mental Health Center and Rosewood Senior Living Community. After retirement, she also volunteered her human resources skills at A New Leaf, a nonprofit organization assisting individuals with developmental disabilities.
Gloria lived most of her life in Oklahoma, yet childhood visits to California had left a lasting positive impression. For seven years Gloria and Leo also lived in Bakersfield, CA, where she enjoyed mild winters and invigorating trips to the Pacific Ocean. Eventually they returned to Oklahoma to be closer to family, but was able to enjoy traveling to Hawaii, Spain, and other interesting places.
Gloria was preceded in death by both parents and by siblings, Edith Helen Conrad McArdle, Bob Joe Conrad, and Marjorie Viola Conrad Warren, all of Ponca City.
Gloria is survived by her devoted husband, Leo of Broken Arrow; her son, Stephen Douglas Rybka of San Diego, CA; her chosen daughter, Julie Thi Underhill of Berkeley, CA; her brother-in-law, Louis Rybka of Cincinnati, OH; her sister-in-law, Julie Dukes of Tulsa, OK; and numerous nieces and nephews.
She will be profoundly missed by those who loved her tender heart, quick wit, and infectious smile.
A chapel service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, September 6, 2019, at Schaudt's Tulsa Funeral Service (5757 S. Memorial Drive) followed by a graveside service at Memorial Park Cemetery (5111 S. Memorial Drive).
For more information visit Gloria's memorial page at https://www.forevermissed.com/gloria-jean-rybka
In lieu of flowers, please make contributions to the Alzheimer's Association in memory of Gloria Jean Rybka and in support of dementia research. Visit Gloria's Tribute page to make an online donation at http://act.alz.org/goto/gloria_rybka or call 800-272-3900.