Ilona Ryder was born in Vienna, Austria, July 9, 1947 to Michael and Ada Vondrak. She was adopted by Ada's second husband Frank Sobernig. In 1956 she emigrated to Alberta with her parents and lived on a farm near Perryvale until 1965. From then until 2010 she made her home in Edmonton. She married Gary A. Ryder in 1972 and they have two children: Robert and Kelly. Ilona worked as a legal assistant with McCuaig Desrochers for twenty year, and after obtaining her Master's degree from the U of A, she was an English instructor at Grant MacEwan University until her retirement in 2008.
Ilona now lives in Beaumont just south of Edmonton. She loves to spend time at the family cabin at Island Lake near Athabasca and to explore Alberta's nature with the St. Albert Trekkers Volkssport and Waskahegan Trail walking clubs. The nearby Edmonton International Airport keeps her connected to Austria and the world.