MANHATTAN — Barbara K. Robel, 71, died April 4, 2015, at Wroten House of Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community in Manhattan. Barb was born July 13, 1943, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to Charles and Ruth Swinney. In 1957, the family moved to Valley Center, where Barb attended Valley Center High School and graduated in 1961. The friendships she formed during these years would last a lifetime. Barb chose to attend Kansas State University, where she spent time as a resident hall assistant and switchboard operator. After her sophomore year, she joined the Delta Zeta sorority in 1963, as part of the sorority’s colonization at Kansas State. She held numerous leadership positions within her sorority including chapter president and rush advisor. This would lead to a long career in the Greek community. She graduated from K-State in 1965 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English.
On June 6, 1964, Barb married Raydon Robel of Great Bend. After graduation from Kansas State, they both taught high school in Burr Oak until 1969. They returned to Manhattan while Raydon earned his master’s degree and Barb dedicated her energy to raising their oldest daughter Kristi and twins Kerry and Kevin. In 1974, Barb became the advisor for the panhellenic council at Kansas State. The position would expand in 1979 to advise both panhellenic and interfraternity councils as the Advisor for Greek Affairs. During her tenure as Advisor, the Greek councils at Kansas State University would receive numerous national awards.
Barb was also active in the Greek community on the national level, serving as conference coordinator for the Association of Fraternity Advisors (AFA) in 1983, then as president in 1985, as well as the association’s newsletter editor from 1986-1990. She was executive director of the Mid-American Panhellenic Council Association (MAPCA), an organization she was instrumental in forming, from 1980-1986 and then again from 1992-1996. MAPCA joined with its fraternity counterpart in 1997 creating the Mid-American Greek Council Association (MGCA) where Barb served as executive director from 2000-2007. Barb was also a founder and director for the National Association of Housing Professionals, a professional service organization for fraternity and sorority house directors. Barb received many awards for her service to the Greek community, including the AFA Distinguished Service Award in 1994 and 1996, and the AFA Robert H. Shaffer Award (the highest association award) in 1997. In 2001 she received the National Beta Theta Pi Outstanding Greek Advisor Award. Barb enjoyed the challenges of the Greek community, but what she cherished most were the relationships she formed. She worked with countless students both at Kansas State and nationally, as well as many professionals in the Greek and collegiate world across the country. Barb retired as Greek Advisor at K-State in 2003, but continued to work at the national level until 2007.
Barb was a devoted member of the Sedalia Community Church, and shared her talents serving as church secretary, vacation Bible school director, publishing the weekly bulletin, as well as many other behind the scenes tasks. She had a life-long passion for horses which included owning and raising quarter horses. Barb participated in horse shows, trail rides, and even took a few equine classes at K-State. She utilized her leadership skills by serving as president of the Blackjack Saddle Club and as the Kansas Coordinator for the National Ride ‘97. She also served as an administrative assistant for the 1996 World Championship Endurance Ride. Barb loved to travel as well as spend as much time as she could with her kids and grandkids.
She was proceeded in death by her husband of 50 years, Raydon H. Robel, on Dec. 28, 2014.
She is survived by two daughters, Kristi Roesch and her children Reagan and Laura of Hiawatha, and Kerry Thurlow, her husband Matt, and their children Wyatt and Kylee of Leonardville; and a son Kevin Robel of Manhattan.
The family will greet friends during a visitation from 5-7 p.m. on Friday at the Sedalia Community Church – Annex Building, 6040 North 52nd Street in Manhattan. A Memorial Service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Sedalia Community Church, with the Rev. Kevin Larson officiating. Private inurnment will take place at a later date. Memorial contributions are suggested to the Raydon Robel Fund at the Sedalia Community Church in care of the funeral home. Online condolences may be left for the family through the funeral home website at www.ymlfuneralhome.com.
Funeral arrangements provided by
Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home**
1616 Poyntz Avenue
Manhattan, KS 66502
Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, April 8, 2015