The Oravetz, Rebar, Prusak, Kuzio, Herpak, and Kovachik Families of Pennsylvania
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 1994 Issue 6 August 1994

zherpak.jpg (20586 bytes)This year's newsletter is dedicated to the memory of Zella (Herpak) Prusak, who died in her sleep on February 25, 1994. Zella attended almost all the reunions and will be missed very much, not only by her immediate family, but by all of us cousins. Zella was a descendent of both the Kozak and Lelak families. Her father, Joseph Herpak, was the son of Peter and Anna Kozak Herpak, and her mother, Josephine ("Peppie"), was the daughter of Matthew and Josephine (Mihalik) Lelak. Aunt Peppie and her sister, Margaret (Lelak) Kovachik, came to this country sometime between 1910 and 1915 to join their sister Mary (Lelak) Oravetz, who is my grandmother.

Zella played a very important role in our family reunion -- she is responsible for its creation! At my mother's funeral in August 1981, Zella expressed her concern that with the passing of the Old Guard, there would be fewer and fewer occasions for the family to get together. She felt that a funeral is a pretty poor reason for family to visit together, so she suggested starting a reunion, and also proposed that it be held every August, in honor of my mother.

The reunion has been held every year since then, and this will be the first reunion without Zella physically still with us, but she will always be a part of the group in spirit. The very fact of our gathering at Duman Lake Park once a year will remain Zella's lasting legacy to our families.

1993 Attendance

About 75 people attended last year, which is by no means a record, but it wasn't a bad turnout.

To aid in identifying attendees, the maiden name of women is given in parentheses, but only if they are directly related (not through marriage).

Ohio: Zella (Herpak) Prusak [Parma]; Phyllis Herpak [Parma]; Bill and Mary Prusak [Parma]; and Bill Prusak, Jr., and his wife, Tammy, and their son, Billy [Garfield Heights];

Michigan: George, Sharon, and Scott White [Rochester Hills]; Karen (Rebar) Semik and daughters, Valerie and Leah [Warren]; and Donna (Rebar) Breyer and sons, Willie and Tim [Oxford].

Maryland: Joyce Rebar [Baltimore]; Ed and Mary Rebar [Bowie]; Earl Venerick, Jr. [Annapolis]; Earl A. Venerick [Pasadena]; Albert Kovachik and his daughter Mary Ann Rosano, and her children, Rebecca, Nick and Tony [Silver Spring]; Jim and Carolyn Rebar [Columbia]; Duane and Kathy (Rebar) Fleshman and daughters, Jeannie and Karen [Woodbine]; Georgia (Rebar) Stice [Glen Burnie]; and Jean (Rebar) Hogan [Baltimore].

Florida: Frank and Barbara Rebar [Ormond Beach]; and Margy (Kovachik) Biggs and her children, Kristina and Michael [Punta Gorda].

Pennsylvania: Paul and Sara (Rebar) Mohar [Harrisburg]; Evelyn (Rebar) Stoops and sons, Mark and Dennis [Shermansville]; Sharon (Stoops) Wolf and son, Cody [Shermansville]; Elmer Rebar and daughter, Geri [Erie]; Earl and Elma (Rebar) Venerick [Clearfield]; Dave and Elsie Rebar [Whitney]; Sandra (Kohute) Harchak and children, Melissa, Zachary and Mackenzie [ Oceola Mills]; John and Betty Kuzio and children, Matthew, Dana, Melissa, Robert, Marie, and Monica [Barnesboro R.D.]; George and Mary (Oravetz) White [Canonsburg]; Bob and Cindy White and children, Shawn and Matthew [Glenshaw]; David Rebar [Gibsonia]; Andy and Dot (Rebar) Polenik (Clymer R.D.); and Verna (Oravetz) Kuzio [Bakerton].

Virginia: Bill and Shelly (Venerick) Cunningham [Alexandria]; and Tony Pasquale [Centreville].

The two youngest attending were Monica Kuzio (3 months) and Mackenzie Harchak (4 months).


Margaret Ann Cernik and David Wadding were married July 2, 1993, and will be re-married in St. Anthony's Roman Catholic Church, Clymer, Pennsylvania, on October 1, 1994. Margaret Ann is the daughter of Margaret Ann and Casimir ("Casey") Cernik, grand daughter of Matilda ("Tillie") (Kovachik) and Gus Burkholtz, and great-granddaughter of Margaret (Lelak) and Joseph Kovachik.

Geralynn Rebar, daughter of Elmer and the late Mary Jane Rebar, will marry Stephen Linehart on August 20, 1994, in Erie, Pennsylvania.


Kaylene Renee Bungo was born October 18, 1993. She is the daughter of Kali and Ron Bungo, granddaughter of Alta (Bloom) and Bob Bungo, great-granddaughter of Anna (Rebar) and Singleton Bloom, and great-great-granddaughter of Katherine (Kozak) and And rew Rebar.

Erica Lynn Semik was born October 18, 1993. She is the daughter of Karen (Rebar) and Richard Semik, granddaughter of John and Stella (Nazarek) Rebar, great-granddaughter of John and Margaret (Oravetz) Rebar, and great-great-granddaughter of Andrew an d Katherine (Kozak) Rebar.

Joshua Casimir Wadding was born on Septmeber 27, 1993. He is the son of Margaret Ann (Cernik) and David Wadding, grandson of Margaret Ann (Burkholtz) and Casimir ("Casey") Cernik, great-grandson of Matilda ("Tillie") (Kovachik) and Gus Burkholtz, and great-great-grandson of Margaret (Lelak) and Joseph Kovachik.


David Michael Baum, son of Betty (Kuzio) Lechene and David Baum, graduated in June, 1994, from Cambria Heights High School, Barnesboro, Pennsylvania.

Nicole Kus, daughter of Pat (Rebar) and Phil Kus, graduated from Lake Orion High School, Lake Orion, Michigan, on June 5, 1994. She will attend the University of Michigan, Flint Campus, beginning this Fall, and will major in either elementary educati on or business administration.

General News

After last year's reunion, Evelyn (Rebar) Stoops had a heart attack. She had angioplasty surgery. We hope you are doing fine, Evelyn.

Shelly (Venerick) Cunningham, daughter of Earl and Elma (Rebar) Venerick, was recently hired by the Clinton administration as confidential assistant to the vice chairman and chief operating officer of the Export-Import Bank of the United States in Washington, D.C. Shelly worked for the Clinton for President campaign and was part of the transition team after the election in November 1992. We're all very proud of you, Shelly!

Memories (by Dorothy Rebar Polenik)

When we lived in Barnesboro (John Rebar family) before 1936, there were only four of us children then (Dorothy, John Jr., Frank, and Ed). We made an annual trip to visit Uncle Joe Rebar's family or Aunt Annie Bloom's family, in Houtzdale, Coalport or Irvona. It was a very exciting trip, because it was very far for us to travel. We always went over a 'wash-board' road, a very bumpy dirt road, for several miles. We pestered Dad with "When are we coming to the wash-board road?", until we finally reached it. We thought it was neat. Our 1926 Pontiac wasn't exactly a smooth ride to begin with, and the extr a rattling jig the car performed was probably like a carnival ride to us. We moved to Twin Rocks in 1936, and I don't remember ever going on that road again after that.

"Memories" will become a permanent feature of The Family Portrait. Please submit your memories to Jim or me, and we'll put them in next year's newsletter. Family history is a living story, not just facts and figures about births, marriages, and deaths. We would like to get even a tiny portion of that living history in print for future generations.

From Jim Rebar

As promised, I am attaching the Rebar family information that Dr. Duncan Gardiner researched for me in Slovakia last year. You will recall that it did not arrive in time to include in last year's newsletter.

If you are interested, I also have maps of the area of Slovakia where the Rebars, Herpaks, Prusaks, and Kozaks came from. They are pretty detailed and not the kind of thing I would routinely include at the end of the family newsletter, but I have extra copies. I also have a road atlas of Slovakia which is very detailed, and I will be happy to show anyone where all these strange-sounding towns are located.

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

Zella and Jack Prusak and their 3 boys, ca. 1952.

Pepi Lelak Herpak, Zella's mother, ca. 1916.

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