|The Oravetz, Rebar, Prusak, Kuzio, Herpak, and Kovachik Families of Pennsylvania|
Approximately 73 people attended the reunion of 1991. This total is based on what was entered in the guest book. Several people did not sign the book, but I remembered seeing them and added them to the total. Please remember to sign the book each year, and PLEASE, PLEASE write down your address if you have moved recently -- of the 70-plus invitations we sent out this year, eleven came back undelivered, forwarding address unknown.
We had beautiful weather for the reunion last year; the shelter was a nice one, and we had a lovely time. I even entered the water balloon games, done by Dave and Elsie Rebar. There were also games and prizes for the children, brought by Phyllis Herpak, and the kids seemed to enjoy that very much. We thank all those who were responsible for the games and prizes.
Pictured above: Margaret Ann (Oravetz) Rebar, Rudolph Oravetz, and Veronica (Oravetz) Kuzio, about 1917.
Ohio: Zella Prusak, Phyllis Herpak, and Bill and Mary Prusak and family;
Michigan: Karen Semik and daughters, Donna Breyer and sons, and the John (Jr.) Rebar family;
New York: Elmer Rebar;
Pennsylvania: Evelyn Stoops and sons, Sharon Wolf, the Mohars, Sandy Harchak and children (Harrisburg), the Kohutes and grandsons, the Venericks, Jean (Rebar) Hogan (Clearfield), Mary White, Bob White family, Alan Oravec family, Dave Rebar family, Mike (Jr.) Kuzio family, Tisha Baum, the Poleniks, and the Tom Kirsch family;
Virginia and Maryland: Ed Rebar family, Bill and Rebecca Rosano, K. Howell, John and Albert Kovachick, Frank Rebar family, and Jim and Carolyn Rebar.
The youngest to attend last year was Zachary Karchak, aged 6 months. Zachary is the son of Sandy (Kohute) and Bill Harchak, and grandson of Marlene (Rebar) and Dave Kohute.
Correction to last year's Family Portrait: The husband of Cheri Lynn Abel, great grand-daughter of John II and Catherine (Rebar) Abel, is John M. Vlha. His name was listed in error as Ulha.
Joseph Kuzio, beloved son of Verna (Oravetz) and Mike Kuzio, died December 10, 1991, of complications due to an extended illness. Joe was 41 years old.
William John Prusak was born August 11, 1991, to William and Tammy (Miller) Prusak. He is the grandson of William and Mary (Woodley) Prusak and great grandson of Zella (Herpak) and Jack Prusak.
Kierstin Abel was born February 24, 1991, to Randall Douglas and Pat Abel. Randall Douglas is the son of Douglas MacArthur and Nancy (Molton) Abel. Alexandria Abel was born in May 1992 to Russell James and Jean Abel. Russell James is the son of John Elmer III and Ruth Ann (Semo) Abel. Kierstin and Alexandria are the great-granddaughters of John II and Catherine (Rebar) Abel.
Cody Shane Wolfe was born on December 22, 1991, to Daniel and Sharon (Stoops) Wolfe. Cody is the grandson of Mark and Evelyn (Rebar) Stoops.
Tommy Charles Patrick was born March 15, 1992, to Sandra Patrick, daughter of Thomas and Judy Patrick. Tommy is the grandson of John and Agnes (Greenaway) Patrick. Agnes is the daughter of Elizabeth (Swartz) Rebar and step-daughter of Joseph Rebar.
Kaitlyn Marie Kuzio was born on June 20, 1992, to Michele Lynne Kuzio, daughter of Michael and Jean (Parrish) Kuzio. Kaitlyn is the great-granddaughter of Verna (Oravetz) and Michael Kuzio.
Alan Rebar, son of Edward and Mary (Molnarko) Rebar, graduated from the University of Maryland on May 19, 1992. Alan intends to go on to graduate school.
Beverly Rebar, daughter of Frank and Barbara (Jager) Rebar, also graduated from the University of Maryland this May. Bev plans to begin work on a Law Degree from the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia) this Fall.
To round off the University of Maryland picture, Mary Pollock, step-daughter of Jim Rebar and daughter of Carolyn (Young) Rebar, also graduated this May.
Karen Fleshman, daughter of Duane and Kathrine (Rebar) Fleshman, graduated from Glenelg High School on June 3, 1992. Karen is planning to go to college this Fall.
John Prusak, son of John Jr. and Sylvia Prusak, graduated from Brecksville High School this June. John has been accepted at Toledo College and will start this Fall.
Ben Pasquale, husband of Nancy (Rebar) Pasquale, has retired from the Fairfax County (Virginia) public school system. Ben was a band director with the school district, and during the course of his career, his bands won many awards. Enjoy your retirement, Ben!
After Joe Oravetz made the reunion from Oklahoma last year, he was sent by his company, Mobil Oil Corporation, to Argentina. He said everyone carries guns and knives there, and he was glad to get home. In the Fall of 1991, Joe and several others from Mobil Oil were sent to Siberia in central Russia to serve as consultants. This Spring, he went again, but alone. He was in Murmansk, Tyumen' and Tazovskij (the first American they had every seen there), all near the Arctic Circle. His task was to check out gas and oil opportunities. Joe now has a Russian petroleum engineer working under his supervision in Dallas as part of an exchange program with the Russian government. Joe is now learning Russian.
Mike Kuzio, Sr. had surgery for a collapsed lung in January 1992. Not to be outdone, his wife, Verna (Oravetz) Kuzio, had double bypass heart surgery on April 13, 1992, and had part of her lung removed the following May 11th. It has been a very trying year for Mike and Verna, with these operations following closely after the death of their son, Joe, last December.
Jim Rebar has contracted with a noted genealogist, Dr. Duncan Gardiner, of Lakewood, Ohio, to conduct research in Slovakia this coming September on the Oravetz, Kozak and Rebar lines of the family. Jim has high expectations that he will learn, once and for all, the correct original spelling of Rebar, whether is was 'Rybar', 'Ribar', or 'Rebar' (not likely).
Good news for the Rebars. Jim has been in contact with Catherine (Rebar) McGivern, of DeSoto, Kansas. Catherine is the great-granddaughter of John Rebar (my dad was named after him) who Jim believes is the brother of Andrew Rebar, the patriarch of the Pennsylvania Rebars and the first one to emigrate to the United States. There is a story floating around that tells of an uncle who passed through Clearfield County on his way 'West'. Insofar as the Kansas John Rebar came originally from Nizná Mysl'a or Vysná Mysl'a in Slovakia, where all the Kozak, Herpak, Valco and Rebar families came from, it is highly likely that we are all related. There is a very good chance that a small contingent of the Kansas Rebars will attend a future reunion. Jim will be able to pin this down better after he gets results from Dr. Gardiner's trip to Slovakia.
From Dot Polenik
Last Fall, Andy and I went to Tyrone, Pennsylvania, to visit Helen Cassidy, daughter of George Kozak. She is the surviving sibling of 7 children, and is the first cousin of my dad, John Rebar, and his siblings. Helen is 92 years old. We had an excellent visit. She lives in a boarding house, called Epworth Manor, which is very nice. She remembers visiting the Rebar family on the farm when she was a youngster. Her mother died young, but her father, George Kozak, lived to be around 89 years old. He died in 1949. We plan to visit again and may learn more about the family. We also met cousin Ann Closson and her husband. She is the daughter of Bertha (Kozak) Kost, who is Helen Cassidy's sister, thus a dauther of George Kozak. Ann's husband, George Closson, is retired from Altoona Enterprise, an economic development corporation. He was a manager of Altoona Incubator. Ann and George have 5 children and 6 grandchildren. Ann is my second cousin. I received a lot of history of the family which I added to my accumulated research material. We hope to meet again.
The family history information on the next couple of pages pertains to the major family groups represented at the reunion each year. The Kozaks bind together many of us who come to the reunion, including the Herpaks, the Prusaks, and the Rebars. Anna Kozak, wife of Peter Herpak, was the sister of Kathrine (Kozak) Rebar and Mary (Kozak) Valco. It should be noted that the name Orosz is often seen associated with the Kozak clan. In one document that we have, written in Hungarian, both George and a Mary Kozak (not the same person as Mary Valco) are referred to by the name 'Orosz Kozak'. The origin of the name is quite simple: a distant Kozak ancestor married an Orosz and moved into her house, and the family name was thereafter known as Orosz Kozak. For what it's worth, Orosz is the Hungarian word for 'Russian', while Kozak in Slovak means 'Cossack', which is an ethnic Russian of the Don River area of Ukraine.
I recently talked with Zella (Herpak) Prusak, daughter of Joseph and Josephine "Pepi" (Lelak) Herpak, and she confirmed that Mary (Kozak) Valko was Joseph Herpak's aunt, and Mary's son, Tom Valko, was Joseph Herpak's first cousin. My father, John Rebar, was also a first cousin to Joseph Herpak. When Joseph Herpak came to the United States, he boarded with the Valkos, and when John Rebar went to Barnesboro to work in the coal mines, it was because his cousins, Joseph Herpak and the Valcos, were there.
The second chart below pertains to the Lelaks. Most of the reunion attendees are descendents of the Lelak sisters who emigrated to the U.S. right after the turn of the century. The first Lelak to arrive was my grandmother, Maria, who came specifically to marry Joseph Oravetz, who had emigrated almost two full years before her. They got engaged in Hungary before Joseph left. Josephine ("Pepi") and Margaret came a few years later. All the Lelak women were born in, and emigrated from, Pereces, a suburb of Miskolc, Hungary. Their parents were Matthew (Hungarian Matyas) and Jozefina (Mihalik) Lelak. In all, there were five Lelak sisters (Maria Josefina, the first born, died of scarlet fever at age 3, and Gizella, the third born, stayed in Europe or died in infancy). There are stories of a brother, John, and a sister, Rose, but I have found no evidence of these two.
Finally, just about everyone else who comes to the reunion is descended from Ferenc and Maria (Kordovaner) Oravec of Opátka, Kosice District, Slovakia. Ferenc and Maria supposedly had 8 sons and 2 daughters. Joseph Oravetz was child #8, Alexander was #9, and Maria was last.
FATHER: John Kozak
WIFE: Anna Maria Barnic Kozak
FATHER: John Kozak
FATHER: Johannes Kozak
FATHER: Joannes Valyko
HUSBAND: Peter Herpak
WIFE: Jozefina Mihalik Lelak
At last year's reunion, we witnessed the return of the long-lost 22-cal rifle to its rightful owner. Many years ago, when he was just a child, Albert "Puff" Kovachik became the proud owner of a 22-cal rifle. One day, Alex Oravec came to Barnesboro to visit his brother, Joseph (my grandfather), who was Puff's next-door neighbor. Alex saw the rifle and asked to borrow it, apparently because he had a rodent problem near his house in East Pittsburgh. Alex left with the '22' and, for one reason or another, never returned it. When Alan Oravec, grandson of Alex Oravec, met Puff for the first time at the 1990 reunion, the story of the rifle surfaced. As it turned out, Alan was now the owner of the rifle, and it was at the reunion that he formulated his plan to reunite the rightful owner with his '22'. A year later at the 1991 reunion, Alan graciously presented Puff with his long-lost rifle. That was a very nice gesture, Alan!
Well, that about wraps up another newsletter. Please keep us in mind when special events happen in your family. Any genealogy information and the latest family news are always appreciated. We need INPUT for OUTPUT.
Dot (Rebar) PolenikJim Rebar
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