The Oravetz, Rebar, Prusak, Kuzio, Herpak, and Kovachik Families of Pennsylvania
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 1993 Issue 5 August 1993

Approximately 74 people attended the reunion of 1992. That's counting children and babies. We did not get an accurate count last year because we were late in getting the guest book out on the table. If you attended last year but do not see your name in the attendance list below, we apologize.

The pavilion last year was nice, but it had rained the night before, se we had some muddy puddles. The youngest person there was Kaitlyn Kuzio, just 6 weeks old. No-one would acknowledge being the oldest in attendance!

1992 Attendance

Ohio: Phyllis Herpak (Parma), and Bill and Mary Prusak (Parma).

Michigan: John, Vicki, Heather and Teresa Rebar (Mt. Clemons).

Pennsylvania: Dot and Andy Polenik (R.D.#2, Clymer); Arlene and Fred Thomas (Home); Mike (Jr.) Kuzio and family (Altoona); Sara and Paul Mohar (Harrisburg); Dave and Marlene Kohute and grandsons (Ramey); Helen Linsenbigler and son, Ed ward (Turtle Creek); Verna Kuzio (Bakerton); Betina Rebar; Earl and Elma Venerick (Clearfield); John Kuzio and family (R.D.#2, Barnesboro); Dave and Elsie Rebar (Latrobe); John and Mary Warholic (family friends from Twin Rocks); Sandy, Melissa and Zachary Harchak (Wilkes-Barre); Margaret Ann, Casey, Margaret, Rose Marie, and Michael Cernik.

Maryland: Ed, Mary and Alan Rebar (Bowie); Frank and Barbara Rebar (Laurel); and Jim and Carolyn Rebar (Columbia).

Virginia: Nancy, Ben and Tony Pasquale (Chantilly); and Debbie, Mike and Kristy Kilgallen (Manassas).

Kansas: Ed and Joan Gaydos (friends of Frank Rebar).


Scott White, son of George (Jr.) and Sharon White, graduated June 8, 1993, from Rochester High School, Rochester, Michigan. Scott will be attending Oakland Community College in the Fall.

Michele Lynn Kuzio, daughter of Mike (Jr.) and Jean Kuzio, graduated June 11, 1993, from Altoona Area High School, Altoona, Pennsylvania.

Jesse Kirsch, son of Patty (Oravetz) and Tom Kirsch, graduated in June 1993 from Northern Cambria High School, Spangler, Pennsylvania. Jesse will attending St. Francis College in Loretto, Pennsylvania, this Fall.

David Amen, son of Patricia (Prusak) and John Amen, graduated from high school in Ohio in 1993. He will attend the University of Toledo in the Fall to study Mechanical Engineering.

Anne Marie Prusak, daughter of William and Mary (Woodley) Prusak, graduated cum laude from Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, in May 1993. Congratulations on your achievement, Anne!

Susan Prusak, daughter of John and Syvia Prusak, graduated from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, also in May 1993.


Ryan Thomas Paterno was born February 28, 1993, to Thomas and Susie Paterno. Ryan is the great-great-grandson of Margaret (Lelak) and Joseph Kovachik.

Monica Rose Kuzio was born on May 6, 1993, to John and Betty (Bell) Kuzio. Monica Rose is the great-granddaughter of Mary (Lelak) and Joseph Oravetz. She joins Dana, Matthew, Melissa, Robert and Marie.

Mackenzie George Harchak, son of Sandy (Kohute) and Bill Harchak, was born April 14, 1993. Mackenzie is the great-great-grandson of Andrew and Katrine (Kozak) Rebar. Mackenzie joins a sister, Milessa Kay, and a brother, Zachary.

Brendon Paul Burkholtz, son of Paul (Jr.) and Debbie (Bennett) Burkholtz, was born August 11, 1992. He is their first child. Brendon is the great-great-grandson of Margaret (Lelak) and Joseph Kovachik.

Nicholas Oravetz, son of Joseph and Barbara Oravetz, was born December 27, 1992. Nicholas is the great-grandson of Joseph and Mary (Lelak) Oravetz. He joins a sister, Hayley Danielle.

Elmer Rebar, son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Swartz) Rebar and grandson of Andrew and Katrine (Kozak) Rebar, has 11 grandsons and one granddaughter. This includes his latest two: a grandson, Joseph Matthew, born in December 1992 to Elmer's son, Joey, and his wife, Hanei; and a granddaughter, Sara Elizabeth Rebar, born in November 1992 to Elmer's son, Robert, and his wife, Karen.


Paul Burkholtz, Jr. and Debbie Bennett were married on May 29, 1993, in Watertown, New York. Paul is the son of Paul and Kathryn Burkholtz, grandson of Gust and Matilda (Kovachik) Burkholtz, and great-grandson of Margaret (Lelak) and Joseph Kovachik. Congratulations, Paul and Debbie!

Robert James Paterno and Linda Kathleen Kencall will be married August 14, 1993, at St. Rose of Lima Church in Miami Shores, Florida. Robert is the son of Mary Kay (Burkholtz) and Louie Paterno, grandson of Matilda (Kovachik) Burkholtz, and great-grandson of Margaret (Lelak) and Joseph Kovachik. Best of luck, Robert and Linda!


John E. Abel, Jr., 84, of Rome, New York, died on June 5, 1993. John was the husband of Catherine (Rebar) Abel, the last surviving child of Andrew and Katrine (Kozak) Rebar. John and Catherine had been married 61 years. They attended the family reuni on several times after we started it, when they were able to travel; in the last couple of years, the trip was too tiring for them. We will miss Uncle John.

Carmela Pasquale, mother of Ben Pasquale (husband of Nancy Rebar Pasquale), died on June 8, 1993. She resided in Ohio. Ben was very close to his mother. We extend our sympathy to him and his family.

General News

Jean (Rebar) Hogan retired from Catonsville Hospital, Maryland, on March 31, 1993. She still works there part-time, as well as an occasional stint at Burger King. Happy retirement, Jean!

Frank Rebar retired from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in December 1992. He and his wife, Barbara, sold their home and relocated to Ormond Beach, Florida. Their address is: 5 Misty Falls Drive, Ormond Beach, FL 32174. Tel: (904) 672-8353. If you're passing through, stop in and say 'Hello!'. We also wish Frank and Barbara a happy retirement.


Last reunion it was mentioned that the children of Alex and Flo Oravec were planning a surprise anniversary party in September 1992. They were married for 50 years. The party was held in Murrysville, Pennsylvania -- Alex and Flo were visiting from Fl orida. We hope it was a great surprise, and we wish them a Happy 50th!

Mike Kuzio, Sr., had a double by-pass operation on April 12, 1993. Uncle Mike had surgery for a collapsed lung in January 1992; he is still having lung problems and is on oxygen.

Sandy (Kohute) and Bill Harchak relocated to Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. They will be living in Osceola Mills.

From Jim Rebar

Many of may or may not know that the Lelak sisters (Mary, Josephine, and Margaret) emigrated to the U.S. from Hungary and not from Slovakia. In short, their father, Matthias Lelak, went to Hungary obviously to work in the mines, and he probably met Josephine Mihalik there. The records show that they were born in different cities in Slovakia. Joseph Oravetz also went to Hungary to work, probably living with his brother, John. He met Mary, one of the Lelak girls, they got engaged, he emigrated to America, sent for her, they married, and settled in Barnesboro. Josephine and Margaret followed later, probably together.

A researcher told me that I could research Hungarian records through the Mormon Church and I would not have to go overseas to do it. The Mormons have microfilmed just about all the parish records in the Hungarian National Archives up to about World War I. I found birth records for Mary, Josephine, and their sister, Gizella (who did not emigrate), but I couldn't find any record of Margaret's birth. And, most surprising of all, I found a death record for a sister, Mary Josephine, who was probably the first born. She died of scarlet fever in 1885, just 3 1/2 years old, and her names were given to two children following her. I have attached all four records for those of you who might want copies. I also found some records of distant relatives, but they are not terribly relevant to our family history.

After the Lelak successes, I decided that I had exhausted all the possibilities of finding new ancestral information in this country, so I contracted in July with noted genealogist, Dr. Duncan Gardiner, of Lakewood, Ohio, to conduct research in Slovakia on the Oravetz, Kozak and Rebar lines of the family. Dr. Gardiner returned a week ago, and his report surpasses even my greatest expectations! The information is so valuable that I am including his report in toto with this year's The Family Portrait. Unfortunately, Dr. Gardiner ran out of time while in Slovakia, so he could not complete his work; his assistant is currently researching the Rebar line -- only the Oravetz and Kozak reports are finished. When the Rebar report arrives, I will do my best to get the information to everyone who is interested, or I might wait to include it in next year's newsletter.

A few highlights from Dr. Gardiner's research... The original spelling of the Rebar name is Ribar'. Yes, that is an apostrophe at the end, and I am embarrassed to say that I cannot find my Slovak grammar book to explain it. Since I am probably the only one who cares, let's just say the name is spelled R-I-B-A-R and forget the apostrophe!

I was very pleased to find out that my grandfather, Joseph Oravetz, had 9 brothers and sisters, including Alex. Alex, as most of you know, was the first Oravetz to emigrate to the United States. My grandfather arrived later and lived with Alex and his wife until he could save enough money to buy passage for Mary Lelak, my grandmother, to join him. They married, moved to Barnesboro, and the rest is history.

The Kozak family has always intrigued me, because there were so many of them who emigrated, all seemingly named George and John. Also, I have numerous documents that contradict each other on the family name -- it is sometimes given as Kozak, sometimes as Orosz Kozak, and sometimes as Kozak Orosz. One of Dot's sources said the name Orosz was just a nickname, and it turns out that she was right. George Kozak, my great-great-grandfather, married Maria Orosz and moved into her house, and his family was thereafter referred to by the nickname 'Orosz.' The parish priest actually made a notation to that effect in the parish register. From my own research, I know that this naming practice was quite normal, especially where a name was very common -- it was a way to distinguish one George or John from another, much the same way as Dot and I distinguish the 'Barnesboro Kozaks' from the 'Clearfield County Kozaks.'

And last, but certainly not the least, Dr. Gardiner came up with information on the Herpaks, which I'm sure is good news to Zella Prusak and her family, and to Phyllis Herpak, who is the family historian for her own and Steve's families.

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.

Dot (Rebar) Polenik
Jim Rebar


Photo Gallery

Ed Rebar, 1944.

Scene from the Polenik farm, ca 1954.

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