Gladys “Gigi” Ryland Kolenda was welcomed home by Jesus Christ her Lord and Savior peacefully during the night early on Sunday, December 20, 2020, surrendering her mortal shell to the long-term effects of a stroke suffered several years ago. Born on April 12, 1938 in Brooklyn, NY to Omar and Therese Ryersen, she moved to Bartow, Florida in 1997.
She was preceded in passing by her first husband, Capt. Donald Gardner (US Army), and her second husband, Mr. James Ryland of Bartow, Florida. She is survived by her third husband, Mr. Robert Kolenda of Mission, TX, whom she married on April 26, 2014. She is also survived by her sister, Mrs. Doris Olsen who resides in Bentonville, AR and their brother, Mr. Donald Ryersen of Nashua, NH. Mrs. Ryland Kolenda is also survived by her three children, all of her marriage to Capt. Gardner: Mrs. Susan Gardner – Nyhof (Scott) of Lakeland, FL, Mrs. Wendy Harris (Alan) of Alabaster, AL, and LCDR (US Navy) Erik Gardner (Tulika) of Jacksonville, FL, along with four grandchildren: Dr. Brittney Davis (Casey) and her brother Mr. Benjamin Harris, Miss Sonia Gardner and Miss Norah Gardner. Surviving nieces and nephews include Patricia Olsen, Tom Olsen, Marcia McGraw, Patricia Gardner, and Michael Gardner. She is also survived by her step daughters; Debbie Ray (Ralph), Joanne Ryland, and Wendy Lee (Jimmy).
Mrs. Ryland Kolenda was a life-long dedicated mother and wife, active in several churches in the area for more than 20 years. She was an accomplished real estate investor and property manager, working in partnership with her late husband, Mr. James Ryland. Gigi was the integral member of the family, who had a light and infectious laugh, offered warm friendship to all she met, and will be missed by all who knew and loved her.
Funeral services will be held at Heath Funeral Chapel on Wednesday, December 23 at 1:00 P.M., followed by interment next to Mr. Ryland in Wildwood Cemetery in Bartow, Florida. For those unable to attend in person, the funeral service will be live-streamed from HeathFuneralChapel.com and available for replay.
Condolences may be sent to the family at Heath Funeral Chapel.