The Oravetz, Rebar, Prusak, Kuzio, Herpak, and Kovachik Families of Pennsylvania
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 1989 Issue 1 August 1989

Welcome to the 8th Annual Family Reunion! This is the first of our yearly newsletters, and we hope you like the format. The idea for the newsletter was mine, and my brother, Jim Rebar, decided to run it through a desktop publisher to spruce it up a bit.

This will be a short newsletter, with news of what has happened since our first reunion, based on my knowledge (personal); so if something grand or sad happened to you and it's not in here, it's because I just didn't know it.

Most of the time the reunion has been fairly well attended, which was encouraging. At the end of this newsletter you will find a little questionnaire to give us some input on how everyone feels about the arrangement. We welcome any suggestions you might have to change the reunion, improve it, etc.


My father, John Rebar, died on March 8, 1977, at age 73. My mother, Margaret Oravetz Rebar, died August 13, 1981. It was at her funeral that the idea of a reunion was born. My one regret is that it wasn't sooner, because the person who truly would have enjoyed one was my mother. As anyone who knew her would agree, she was happiest when among friends and relatives, and visiting was her greatest enjoyment, especially to her sister, Verna's, house.

The first reunion was held on August 21, 1982. Quite a few people showed up. Andy and I just got back from a trip to Germany, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. At this reunion were the Burkholtz families, whose attendance I believe was encouraged by their mother, Matilda (Tillie) Kovachik Burkholtz Salley, because she was ill and this meant a lot to her. The reason I mention this is that a little over a month later, on September 29, 1982, she died from cancer. It was so nice to see her and know that she had visited with so many of her family, meaning all the relatives there.

Other Events

For those who are not aware of what happened to our family prior to the reunions, I will summarize here:

Our brother, John A. Rebar, died April 17, 1982, 8 months after our mother died, and on the same day as his son's wedding. The wedding had to go on, and the funeral was held two days later. We felt he would have wanted that, since all the arrangements had been made already. It was a trying time, but we are survivors!

Our aunt, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Schwartz Rebar died on October 4, 1983. She had a severe stroke on November 16, 1982. She and Mom were great friends when they were young. Her husband, Joseph Rebar, had died on January 15, 1980.

Robert Bungo, husband of Alta (Bloom) Bungo, had a heart attack and died on October 14, 1986. This was quite a shock to all of us. Bob was 63 years old.

Mary (Rebar) Petcavage, daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth Rebar, died of cancer on November 21, 1988. Mary was about 62 years old, and had been a staunch supporter of this reunion from the very beginning. She will be missed.

Helen Valco died February 23, 1989. She helped me a lot with the family history and with many pictures that I have in an album. I am very grateful for her help. Her daughters, Evelyn and Betty, also helped a lot.

Alex Oravec had a stroke on January 17, 1986. Alex and his wife, Flo, relocated to Plantation, Florida, where two of their daughters live. Alex's left side was affected, but he is able to travel. Wish them a lot of luck.

Mary Ann (Oravetz) Falgout made it to the reunion of 1987. Mary Ann lives in New Orleans. She came by herself and stayed with her sister, Pat Kirsch, and family in Barnesboro. It was sure good to see Mary Ann again.

Gus Burkholtz made it all the way from California in 1987. Gus also came alone and stayed with his brother in Heilwood, Pennsylvania.

George and Sharon White and son, Scott, relocated to Rochester Hills, Michigan, from Parma Heights, Ohio. Sharon has a very good job and the company required that she move. George had to change jobs. New town, new home -- good luck, George and Sharon!

Susan Prusak, daughter of John and Sylvia Prusak, granddaughter of Jack and Zella Prusak, will be going to college this Fall.

Zella Prusak, by the way, can't make the reunion this year -- she is scheduled for a hip replacement operation soon. Keep her in your prayers.

Wayne Rebar, son of Dave and Elsie (Williams) Rebar, grandson of John and Margaret (Oravetz) Rebar, will be discharged from the Army next week. He'll start college this Fall. Son Dave, Jr. will begin his fourth year at Pitt.

Jim and Carolyn Rebar are still in Germany, and will be there for two more years.

Bill Prusak, son of Bill and Mary (Woodley) Prusak, will be getting married this Fall.


Kathrine (Rebar) Fleshman, daughter of George and Ann Rebar, finished college while raising a family. That's perseverance! Cathy is employed by the Government and lives in rural Maryland.

Tony Pasquale, son of Nancy (Rebar) and Ben Pasquale, graduated from college and is a chemical engineer employed with the Government. Daughter Debbie will be going to college this Fall.

Natalie Rebar, daughter of Ed and Mary (Molnarko) Rebar, also graduated from college with a degree in art. She is working at Penny's, decorating. Son Alan is still in college.

Frank and Barbara (Jager) Rebar's daughters, Linda and Joyce, both graduated earlier. Joyce, our archaeologist, in employed in a different field right now. Daughter Beverly, our horse-woman (she loves them, and rides equestrian, jumping, etc.), will be going to college this Fall.


The following are children born to the children of John and Stella (Nazarek) Rebar:

To daughter Donna (Rebar) and William Bryer:

  • William John Bryer, January 28, 1983
  • Timothy Lee Bryer, June 27, 1985

To son John and Vicki Rebar:

  • Heather Ann Rebar, May 28, 1983
  • Teresa Maria Rebar, July 10, 1985

To daughter Patty (Rebar) and Phil Kus:

  • Andrew John Kus, December 30, 1983. (He joins brother Christopher and sisters, Nicole and Cindy.)

To daughter Karen (Rebar) and Richard Semik:

  • Valerie Ann Semik, October 1, 1986

To son Joseph and Heidi (Dohran) Rebar:

  • Joseph William Rebar, September 24, 1987
  • Kristy Rebar , 1989

Other births, not necessarily in any order:

To Paul, son of Tillie Kovachik Salley Burkholtz, and Kathryn Burkholtz:

  • Ashley Marie Burkholtz, February 2, 1984

To Doug, son of Catherine (Rebar) and John Abel, and Pat (Tolerico) Abel:

  • Douglas Justin Abel, April 22, 1984

To Karen (White), daughter of Mary (Oravetz) and George White, granddaughter of Mary (Lelak) and Joseph Oravetz, and Gerry Morgan:

  • Christopher Morgan, December 1984

To Dawn (Stice), daughter of Georgia (Rebar) and Bill Stice, granddaughter of George and Ann Rebar:

  • April Helt, October 22, 1987

To Robert (see Weddings below) and Cynthia (Cordell) White:

  • Matthew White, October 12, 1988

To John, son of Verna (Oravetz) and Mike Kuzio, grandson of Mary (Lelak) and Joseph Oravetz, and Betty (Bell) Kuzio:

  • Robert James Kuzio, May 21, 1988

To the child of Arlene (Rebar), grandchild of Mike and Helen Greenaway Rebar:

  • Melody Lynne, July 18, 1989


Caroline Herpak, daughter of Steve and Phyllis Herpak, married Gary Jablonski on November 27, 1982.

Joseph Oravetz, son of Rudy and Verna (Keblesh) Oravetz, grandson of Mary (Lelak) and Joseph Oravetz, married Barbara Upton of Madill, Oklahoma on August 4, 1984. Joe is a geophysical engineer and they are expecting a child. They now live in Texas.

Sandra Kohute, daughter of Marlene (Rebar) and David Kohute, granddaughter of Elizabeth and Joseph Rebar, married William Harchak on September 21, 1985. They live in Harrisburg.

Robert White, son of Mary (Oravetz) and George White, grandson of Mary (Lelak) and Joseph Oravetz, married Cynthia Cordell on April 4, 1987. Cynthia has a son, Shawn, by a previous marriage.

Alta (Bloom) Bungo, daughter of Anna (Rebar) and Clair Bloom, married Paul Johnson on February 14, 1988. Alta and Paul both lost their spouses to heart attacks. We wish them the best of luck the second time around.

Valerie Ann Mohar, daughter of Sara (Rebar) and Paul Mohar, granddaughter of Elizabeth and Joseph Rebar, married at St. Margaret's Church, Harrisburg on June 11, 1988.

Family History

We a still have a ways to go with the Kozak family history, but here's what we have:

Of the Kozak family, two branches came to America; one settled in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, the other in Barnesboro, Pennsylvania. Of the Clearfield branch, my grandmother, Kathrine, married Andrew Rebar (alternately spelled Ribar and Rybar), and her brother George married Annie (last name unknown). Sister Maria stayed in Slovakia, where she married Andrew Straka. The father of this group, we think, was John Kozak, who married Catharina Orosz. Anna Orosz, probably the sister of Catharina Orosz, married Peter Herpak, whose son, Joseph, came to America and married Jozefina Lelak, and they produced all the Herpaks and Prusaks in our family. This means that I am related to those families through my mother and my father!

The other branch of the Kozaks that settled in Barnesboro included George, who married Annie; John, who married Amelia; and Maria, who married Valentine ("Barney") Valco. Barney and Maria had a son, Thomas, and a daughter, Helen. Thomas just happened to have married a Helen, as well, and it was she who was such a help to me.

General News

It has been noted that attendance at the reunion has been falling off. It is understandable that for those coming from a distance the cost can be great, so it might be hard to come every year. Of course, other commitments also come into the picture, and then there are always some people who are not really interested. For those of us who are interested, the reunion has been a great enjoyment -- making new friendships, renewing the family acquaintances, etc.

Should we continue the reunion as it is and hope for the best? It has been suggested that perhaps every two years or even three years would be nice, because then maybe it would be a greater incentive to make the reunion. It has also been suggested that a spontaneous one be initiated in the future after a couple of years, etc. Please write to Dave or me with your thoughts on this, and please feel free to come up with your own ideas for making it better.

Well, that's all, Folks. Please send us your news so we can get it into next year's Family Portrait.

Dorothy (Rebar) Polenik
With contributions by Jim Rebar


Photo Gallery

Believed to be Anna Kozak Herpak, mother of Joseph Herpak.

George Rebar, ca 1935, at a CCC or WPA facility.

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