Susan Oleszewski, OD ’76, Resident ’78

Memories of Dr. Onofrey Rybachok

1948-OnofreyRybachok.jpgFor the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (PCO) graduates starting in the late 1930s well into the 1970s, Dr. Rybachok “Rybie” was an icon. Rybie taught anatomy to my class in the early 1970s. By that time, he was at the end of his teaching career and apparently had mellowed quite a bit. I remember him as a gentle man and a gentleman. Rybie’s earliest students described him as someone I did not recognize. They said he instilled fear into his students. His physical presence was intimidating and his academic expectations mirrored in his own larger than life stature and his booming voice. By the time Rybie taught our class he had mellowed. I recall him quite fondly as he lectured to our class sitting in the middle of the classroom. By that time it was apparently too difficult for him stand to deliver his lecture. As he sat there lecturing his eyes were often closed while he advanced his 35 mm slides (that’s right, not digital). We were all convinced his lecture notes were tattooed on the inside of his eyelids.

Rybie 1976 YearbookOne of his classic test questions for the cardiovascular system was “Trace a drop of blood from the tip of your toe to the retina.” (two points) Yes, those were the days when essay type questions were the rule and not the exception.

Dr. Rybachok represents one of the many academic pioneers that made PCO the institution that it is today. In addition to remembering Dr. Rybachok with gratitude and fondness, there were so many others that gave so much: Drs. George and Gilda Crozier, Dr. Carmen Perna and Dr. John Crozier, just to name a few. They meant a lot to my early years and I will always be grateful and remember them with admiration and respect.