Rick Nyberg

RICK NYBERG met his wife Joyce Hawkins in 1969 in an English class in college, making for almost a 50 year relationship and a 47 year marriage. They have two sons.

“I would love to report in on a gaggle of grandchildren, but our two sons are not cooperating in the matter. I have begged them to consider not waiting till I am too old to take grandkids backpacking. But to no avail. Joyce and I are thinking about becoming foster grandparents. Our eldest son, Justin, is a Princeton educated writer and outdoorsman. He wrote for Outside Magazine for a decade. Once he realized that he wanted to get married and buy a home he became an attorney. He lives with his attorney wife in Colorado. He has accumulated more adventure travel in his pushing 40 years than most all of us have in a lifetime—combined. Our younger son, Morgan, is a police officer in a tough municipality of Southern California. Despite having a MA from USC, he loves serving the community from the street perspective. And, while he asks us to be discrete about details about his work, suffice it to say he is one of those very good guys that runs selflessly towards dangerous situations that the rest of us run from.”

Their beloved Golden Retriever, Cyrus joined the family for nearly 15 years. “It been almost 15 years since we had to let him go, and the pain of that passing still has our kennel quiet. (Though I fell in love with a Rhodesian Ridgeback on a Paris subway a few months ago and find myself leaning in that direction.)”

Rick spent his childhood in Portland, OR, and in Burbank for high school. From there he was in California for college, Princeton, NJ for graduation school and in Irvine, CA during household years. Since retiring, he and his wife have been living in Newport Beach, CA.

About his post-high school education, Rick writes: “As undergraduates, Joyce pursued a degree in elementary school teaching, while I studied philosophy, psychology, and religion. (Clearly, she has always been the practical one in our relationship.) After one year of marriage, we headed off on a wonderful east coast adventure where I pursued master degree studies in Pastoral Counseling at Princeton Theological Seminary, and Clinical Social Work at Rutgers University. Joyce earned her “PhT”, (“put him through” graduate school) by becoming a 5th grade teacher in the Princeton area. My studies eventually lead to receiving a M.Div. and MSW degrees. We had planned to settle in some quaint New England town to establish a career and build a family, but my mother’s terminal illness had us hastily return to California in 1977. We ended up in Irvine in its hay days where I began my clinical career and Joyce and I settled into building and nurturing a family. From that point we established what came to be deeply rooted relationships in the Orange County community and have been there ever since.”

“Historically, my career revolved around providing counseling and executive coaching services that included professorships at Chapman and Concordia Universities. But I have also enjoyed other career adventures in the area of executive coaching and organizational development. With all the changes in the mental health industry in the 1980s, I became involved with side businesses that took me into a world that I would have never imagined I would venture into the world of banking. One of these career side trips did well and has freed me to pursue only the most fun aspects of my clinical/coaching profession. Chief among this is helping mid life men move “from success to significance” in their lives, which nets out to be nothing more than soul work. This time in life has also permitted me to explore other areas of personal and professional growth in the form of becoming a voluntary chaplain within local hospice services, and the mentoring of underprivileged youth via exposing them to nature and backpacking. I am told that I am retired. And my office is for the most part closed. But I seem to be busier now than ever. Given how busy I am in retirement I actually wonder just how I fit work into my schedule for all those years? My bucket list is long. It includes a couple of books that have been festering in my head for decades now, enjoying time with my wife, family, and friends, travel, and pondering such issues as to just what I plan to do when I grow up.”

Rick Nyberg at the 50th Reunion

“While enjoying a diverse and fulfilling career path in human services has been a significant accomplishment in my life, I don’t view it as my greatest. Beyond any professional achievement, I believe that my greatest accomplishment has been to raise, with my wife, two wonderful young men who have deep souls, and who are assets to the quality of our world today. No success in the world could ever be worth a failure in the home.

“Our High school years, the years 1965 through 1968, were exceptionally complex ones on the world stage. (For a great overview of this time read 1968: The Year that Rocked the World, by Mark Kurlansky.) Our world was rapidly losing its innocence—or naivete. And as we tried to negotiate the normal developmental challenges of adolescence during those tumultuous times we did so in the unfolding of a new world that previous generations never faced. For me, that complexity was amplified by the fact in 1965 was a transplant from the pastoral green of an Oregon childhood, to the gray hues of apartment life on Grismer Avenue the week that the Watts riots broke out.

And so, when I arrived in Burbank in 1965, I was one of several in our class at BHS with no historic connection to the place or to the people. It took a year or so to begin to find a sense of belonging in that community. My best memories are grounded in gratitude for those that did reach out it support of a lost kid from Oregon. Mr. Lloyd, my guidance counselor, stands at the top of a long chain of mentors who throughout my life believed in my potential in ways that I could never have imagined at the time—and nudged me towards achieving it. I recall the day when he told me that he was placing me on the “college track” —whatever that meant. Then there were the wonderful families of fellow students who welcomed me into their hearts and homes. The graciousness, support and love of the White, and the Parrish families is at the top of that list. Then there was Bill Flannigan, the youth minister from the local Presbyterian church who served the spiritual needs of the stable kids and shepherded the wayward ones alike. As for teachers Regnal Hall, and his infectious blissful love affair with music that made all within his reach make joyful noise. Some of my most rewarding times in HS were doing the musicals, madrigal choir, and finding my way into the S. California Youth Choir under Mr. Hall’s mentoring.”


Rick Nyberg


About Katherine Crosier

I am an organist in Honolulu—a rare breed of folks who play the King of Instruments! Through stories, photos, and videos, this blog is a diary of my musical journey ... and my family just groans!

2 responses »

  1. […] and it’s not too late to fill out the Reunion Questionnaire! Rick Nyberg just did and you can see his contribution here. Some people have just written short answers and others have written entire treatises—it’s […]

  2. Chris potelicki says:

    Hi Rick, it’s Chris Potelicki. We lived next door to you in 1980-81 on Doncaster in Irvine. Just wanted to say hello and let you know how much our family appreciated you and Joyce. hope all is well!

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