Edward H. Rybnicek, professor emeritus of sociology, died Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011, in Phoenix. He was 84.

Dr. Rybnicek was a well-known and respected professor who taught historical and constructive theory, social organization, sociology of religion, urban sociology and political sociology at NAU. He also served as the pre-law adviser and chair of the sociology department. Dr. Rybnicek retired in 1991 after 24 years with the university.

Dr. Rybnicek was born July 25, 1927, in New Prague, Minn., to Ann and Henry Rybnicek. He graduated from New Prague High School in 1945 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy with which he spent the last days of World War II on Okinawa. He served in the Navy for 13 years and earned the rank of lieutenant.

During his military service, Dr. Rybnicek earned a bachelor of arts degree from Denison University and a bachelor of divinity and ministry from Colgate Rochester Divinity School. After leaving the Navy, Dr. Rybnicek earned master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Rybnicek is survived by his sister Alice (Walter) Kensy of Arden Hills, Minn.; six nieces and nephews; 15 great nieces and nephews; and nine great-great nieces and nephews.

Services will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Samaritan Funeral Home, 1501 E. McDowell Road in Phoenix. For information, visit the Samaritan Funeral Home website.