Deaths Death Notices
RIFFEL, Nancy (Ryba)
RIFFEL - Nancy (nee Ryba) Surrounded by her husband and children, Nancy Riffel joyfully ran into the arms of her loving Savior on Friday, March 4th, five days shy of her 81st birthday. She will be forever remembered and cherished by her loving husband and soulmate Jim Riffel, who first met Nancy on a blind date when she was only 16. Nancy was Jim's precious wife for almost 60 years. Her loving father, Julian Ryba passed away when she was just 14, leaving her mother, Pauline Ryba widowed with three young children to raise. Pauline impressed upon her children tenacity and a strong work ethic. Nancy felt deep responsibility to excel and chose an accelerated college program at Buffalo State College. Taking courses in the fall, spring and summer allowed her to graduate in three years instead of four with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Teaching. Upon graduation, Nancy excitedly accepted a position at Eggert Road Elementary School, teaching third grade at the age of 20 (1955). Lifelong residents of Western New York, Nancy and Jim married June 30, 1956 and after briefly residing in a tiny upper flat on Shirley Avenue in Buffalo, the happy young couple moved to Orchard Park where they devotedly raised their five children: Douglas, Kathleen (Gerry) Goodrich, Christine (Edward) Hoch, Paul (Lisa) and Karen (Antonio) Edmonds. Nancy taught elementary school just one year. The birth of her first child had such a profound impact on young Nancy that she made the commitment to stay home to raise their children. Being a full time mother was her dream and passion, a role she cherished. Inspired by her lifelong love of reading and her desire to become a librarian, Nancy decided to go back to college when she was in her forties and earned her Masters Degree in Library Science from The University of Buffalo. She thoroughly enjoyed her chosen profession, especially the 10 years she travelled all across Erie County bringing books to schools, nursing homes and senior living apartments on the Bookmobile. She was an active member of the Catholic Librarians Association, including serving two years as president. Nancy and Jim were very active members of Nativity of Our Lord parish for 60 years, singing in the choir together for 14 years and then the folk group for many years. Overlapping those years they were also Eucharistic Ministers and were active in the Catholic Family Movement, Marriage Encounter, Cursillo, Mission at Nativity and Renew. Together they spent wonderful weekends at Piffard and Mount Savior monasteries to reflect and replenish their souls. One of Nancy's truest pleasures was gardening. Thousands of hours of weeding, planting, pruning, thinning, transplanting, and deadheading resulted in glorious gardens surrounding their home. Hundreds of varieties carefully clustered together provided visual enjoyment all season, beginning with dozens of crocuses in spring to stonecrop sedum and mums in the fall. Her gardening flare was on display at Nativity as well. Giving of her time and talent, with great pride for glorifying God's house, Nancy voluntarily tended to the gardens surrounding Nativity Church and school for many years. Many of the perennials Nancy planted will fill Nativity gardens with blooms again this coming summer. Nancy joined the Orchard Park Garden Club in 2003 and received a lot of enjoyment sharing her passion for flowers with the other ladies. She remained an active member until December 2012 when her declining health made active participating too difficult. Nancy felt honored to be a mother, and had passion about the Godly role a mother has in the home. Her deep faith and love of motherhood naturally led Nancy to become a strong advocate for the unborn child. In spring 2004, Nancy's deep faith moved her to approach Nativity about beginning Vacation Bible School. Not to be suppressed by a few skeptics, she immersed herself in its success. Singing, laughing, learning, creative crafts, all centered around teaching children about God's love. It was a huge success and continues every summer at Nativity still. Nancy is the sister of Marilyn (Bill) Blizard and sister of the late Gary (Marsha) Ryba, and daughter of the late Julian and Pauline Ryba. Nancy's legacy continues not only through her five children and their spouses, but also through her 17 grandchildren, their spouses and Nancy's five great-grandchildren...Allison, Dave (Danusia), Paul (Christina) and baby Chester, Jake (Jen) and children Nathan and Arianna, Nicole (Shaun) and son Oliver, Molly (Aaron), Andrew (Laura), David, Steven, Sarah, Angela Marie, Lauren, Joshua, Tyler, Rebecca and son Dominic, Melissa, Michael. They have many fond memories of their Grandma Nancy, including teaching them that jewel weed is an edible plant in the woods, identifying plants and trees, love of nature, the true meaning of Christmas and Thanksgiving. Grandma Nancy was always eager to play Chinese checkers, Scrabble and dominos with her grandkids. Nancy's health challenges with celiac disease and then in 2008 her diagnosis with Parkinson's were met head on with tenacity and bravery due to her strong unwavering faith. Nancy was a tremendous inspiration to us all, who loved her so much. The family will receive friends Thursday, March 10th from 2-4 and 7-9 PM at the F.E. BROWN SONS FUNERAL HOME, INC., 6575 E. Quaker St., Orchard Park. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday at 10 AM in Nativity of Our Lord Church, 26 Thorn Ave., Orchard Park. Please assemble at church. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Hospice Buffalo or OLV Senior Neighborhood Nursing Home.