Gary Rybolt, co-owner of The Music Suite, died on Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011. He was 67.
Although the store remained open most of the week, its doors were closed Thursday during a service at First Christian Church, described by Mr. Rybolt's wife as "a celebration of his life." Afterwards, Mr. Rybolt was buried at the Red Top Cemetery in Hallsville.
Mr. Rybolt found out in early August that he had cancer, but didn't want anyone to know because he didn't want people to be uncomfortable around him, his wife, Pat Rybolt, said.
Mr. Rybolt began his career as a band director in the Egyptian School District, in southwest Illinois. He later worked in Lebanon, Mo., and Bowling Green.
Things weren't always easy for the couple, Pat Rybolt said. But they didn't believe in coincidences, and knew that wherever they ended up was where God wanted them to be.
After Mr. Rybolt's career as a band director ended, he earned his pilot's license and later flew as chief pilot for Graybar Electric Company, his wife said.
"He loved flying," she said. "It was like touching the face of God."
Pat Rybolt credits her husband for encouraging her to open The Music Suite, the piano store on North Providence Road she and Mr. Rybolt opened in the 1980s. Although they didn't have enough money for the store, Mr. Rybolt had confidence in his wife.
"My husband believed in me," Pat Rybolt said. "And because he believed in me, we have a music store."
Two music stores, to be exact. The couple later opened a second location in Mexico, Mo.
Mr. Rybolt believed in serving people, his wife said. He placed value in individuals and their needs over the store's profits, and tried to be available to people whenever they needed help. Pat Rybolt said her husband did a lot of repairs without charging people much money, because the couple had been short on money before and knew what it was like.
“Our emphasis is on servicing the peoples’ needs that come in here, and that’s why I’m here today," Pat Rybolt said.
Mr. Rybolt is survived by his wife; his son, Scott Rybolt and his wife, Julie, of Dexter; his sister, Judy Baumstark of Hermann; and three grandchildren, Alex, Sean and Benji.