Patricia Sue Tonar

Patricia Sue Tonar

February 11, 1948 – August 17, 2022

CELEBRATION OF LIFE: Friday, August 26th at 11am at Arbor Hall, 14040 Arbor Street, with luncheon to follow.  In lieu of flowers, memorials are suggested to Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and American Cancer Society.  To view a live broadcast of the Celebration of Life, please visit and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.


Patricia died on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, as a result of an automobile accident on US Highway 75 near the Kansas/Nebraska border.

Patricia Sue Young was born at Fort Riley, Kansas Air Force Base on February 11, 1948, to Thelma and McIlwaine Young. Patty’s father died when she was 4 years old.  At that time, her mother moved her and her sister DeeDee to Osage City, Kansas to be close to their grandparents.  This is where her mother, Thelma, met Jerome Gamba, a widower, and his five daughters.  When Thelma and Jerome married, he adopted Patty and DeeDee and they officially became Gambas.  When Patty was 17, her mother passed, leaving their father to raise the girls.  Patty felt very blessed to have been raised by a father that showed by example, not words, how to treat people and live a good life.

In 1966, Patty attended Kansas State Teachers College, which later became Emporia State University.  Upon graduation in 1970, her sister Mary encouraged her to move to Omaha to start her teaching career.  Patty was invited to stay with her family until she saved enough money to move into an apartment.  It was the Polings that started her journey to meet her husband Rich.

Patty and Rich were married on December 27, 1975.  From this union came two sons, Richard J. Tonar, Jr. and Jeremy S. Tonar.  Pat and Rich were a good team; they loved to take their boys along on their adventures. They were very proud of the good men they became.

After more than 30 years of teaching elementary school for Omaha Public Schools, she retired in 2003. During her teaching career she made many lifelong friends, who were very important to her.

During her retirement she loved traveling with family and friends.  She especially loved to travel to Branson, Las Vegas, and Orlando. One of her favorite trips was taking her grandson Brady on a Nebraska tour before he entered Fourth Grade; she wanted him to see the things he would soon be hearing about in his History lessons. Lots of memories were made on this trip, and they had a great time.

Her giving spirit continued to grow as she joined groups that continued her joy of giving back to others and the community.  She was an active member of the Metro Women’s Club, Mini Metro Group, Happy Hour Birthday Group, and Kappa Kappa Iota. She treasured the friendships she made from her involvement in these groups.

Patricia was preceded in death by her parents: McIlwaine Young, Jerome & Thelma Gamba; husband, Richard Tonar Sr.; sisters: Pat Stadler, Barbara Estes,and Mary Poling.  Patricia is survived by sons, Rick Tonar (Jen) and Jeremy Tonar (Julie); one grandson, Brady Tonar; siblings: Virginia  Newell (Delbert), Carole Thompson, DeeDee Mercer, and Jim Gamba (Denise); many nieces and nephews.




  • Kathy Brand Posted August 21, 2022 6:34 pm

    I taught with Pat at Picotte. I loved seeing her smile and her wise advice when needed. There was no doubt she loved her family and was proud of her boys. May God’s Perpetual Light Shine Upon Pat! May God grant her family the strength and grace needed to get through this difficult time.

  • Adam Phillips Posted August 21, 2022 7:14 pm

    Sorry to hear about Pat. She will be missed. Thoughts to you all and your families.

  • Mark & Gaylene Mulherin Posted August 21, 2022 7:38 pm

    So sorry for your loss

  • Eric Phillips Posted August 21, 2022 10:38 pm

    My most sincere and heart felt sadness of moms passing. You boys had a truly one of a kind wonderful mom. She will be missed.

  • Cathie and Doug Turner Posted August 22, 2022 6:44 am

    Pat was a very special, one of a kind person. We are so thankful to have been her neighbor and friend. We will miss her and her adventurous spirit.

  • Janie Massey Posted August 22, 2022 7:35 am

    So very sad. Patty was a great gal! I send sympathies to her family!

  • Diane Schumacher Posted August 22, 2022 4:52 pm

    I am so very sorry. Prayers for loved ones and hugs.

  • Sheila Turbes Posted August 23, 2022 3:35 pm

    I first met Pat when we taught at Edison and then moved together to Picotte. Her smile and laugh literally lit up the room. She welcomed and accepted all and created such a nurturing environment, The world has lost a bright light. Sending my heartfelt sympathy on your incredible loss,

  • Christopher Gallardo Posted August 24, 2022 7:25 am

    To Rick and the entire Tonar family. Strength and prayers or strength to you and your family.

    Nicole, Jaden and Chris

  • Kay Snyder Posted August 25, 2022 10:02 pm

    Pat’s friendship was a gift. She had a way of making people feel good about themselves. Pat brought positive energy wherever she went and enjoyed life. She will be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing her.

  • Carol Ellis Posted September 13, 2022 3:53 pm

    I just returned to Omaha after 10 years & planned to rendezvous with Pat & retired colleagues @ a luncheon Pat had arranged for this week. I am beyond devastated to just learn of her passing. My heart goes out to Rick & Jeremy and grandson Brady. We enjoyed many trips together with Rich & Pat over the years and miss them both greatly. Pat was such a bright star in our constellation. Sending our love and prayers to you all.

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