The Oravetz, Rebar, Prusak, Kuzio, Herpak, and Kovachik Families of Pennsylvania
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 2000  Issue 12 August 2000

bloom16.jpg (20755 bytes)Welcome to the 19th annual family reunion of descendants of the Oravetz, Oravec, Rebar, Kovachik, Lelak, and Kozak families. In The Family Portrait this year we are featuring articles by Shirley (Bungo) Darin, describing her emotional pilgrimage to Ellis Island, and by Joyce Rebar, who gives us some insights into women's hockey. Interspersed throughout those articles are a nice assortment of interesting tidbits about family members, from sports activities to the more mundane, such as what many of us do for a living. The Internet email address list has changed somewhat, but it's growing as more and more people get on-line. There is a definite emphasis this year on Aunt Annie and her descendants, and we dedicate this newsletter to her memory. We hope you enjoy all the contributions this year! You will notice that we are again including an assortment of old photographs this year. We would like to thank the above-mentioned Shirley (Bungo) Darin, a descendant of Andrew and Katalin (Kozak) Rebar, for being a major source of these photographs. Another major contributor of pictures was my mother, Margaret (Oravetz) Rebar, whose photo album just re-surfaced after 19 years tucked away in a box.

1999 Attendance

At the 1999 reunion there were about 86 attendees from 7 states.

Florida: Frank and Barbara Rebar (Ormond Beach).

Maryland: Robert Stoops (Germantown); Joyce Rebar (Baltimore); Jean Hogan (Baltimore), Ed and Mary Rebar (Bowie), Alan Rebar (Baltimore); Linda Rebar and Troy Snyder (Baltimore) and Jim and Carolyn Rebar (Columbia).

Michigan: Donna Breyer and sons, Willie and Tim (Oxford); Karen Semik and daughters, Valerie Ann, Leah Kathleen, and Erica Lynn (Memphis); John Rebar and daughters, Heather Ann and Teresa Marie (Clinton Township); Stella Rebar (Warren); and Rose Marie Butz (St. Clair Shores).

New York: Alta Johnson (Niagara Falls); and Bob and Amy Bungo and children Kaylene and Phillip (Niagara Falls).

Ohio: Pat, John, and Laura Amen, and friend Mark Morris (Parma); Bill and Mary Prusak (North Royalton); and Anne Marie and Matt Hunkele (Tallmadge).

Frank and DotPennsylvania: Dave and Elsie Rebar (Latrobe); Tisha and Zackary Gallaher and Mike Gomolka (Elmora); Sandra, Zachary, Mackenzie, and Melissa Harchak, and their cousins Elijah and Alexander Harchak; Ed Linsenbigler and Ethel Halligan (Pittsburgh); Dave, Becky, and Laura Kohute (Johnstown); Earl and Elma Venerick (Clearfield); Evelyn and Mark Stoops (Shermansdale); Dennis Stoops (Shermansdale); George Kohute (West Decatur); Nancy Rebar (Indiana); Mike and Jean Kuzio (Altoona); Lorie Kuzio (Altoona); Michele McCaulley and children Kaitlyn and Brett (Altoona); Mike and Sharon Berkheimer (Altoona); John, Matt, Dana, Melissa, Robert, Maria, and Monica Kuzio (R.D. Barnesboro); Dot and Andy Polenik (R.D. Clymer); Marlene Kohute (Ramey); Bob White (Glenshaw); Mary White (Glenshaw); Wayne and Monica Rebar (Greensburg); and Betty Lechene and Mike Berzonsky (Elmora).

Virginia: Tony Pasquale (Centreville); and Beverly Rebar (Virginia Beach).


Natalie Marie Rebar and Curtis Ray Strength III were married on July 15, 2000, at Walden Clubhouse, Crofton, Maryland. Natalie is the daughter of Edward and Mary (Molnarko) Rebar, and granddaughter of Margaret (Oravetz) and John Rebar, and great-granddaughter of Joseph and Mary (Lelak) Oravetz. 


Maddison Taylor McCaulley was born January 31, 2000 to Michele (Kuzio) and Chris McCaulley of Altoona, Pennsylvania. Maddison is the granddaughter of Michael and Jean (Parrish) Kuzio, great-granddaugher of Michael and Veronica (Oravetz) Kuzio, and great-great-granddaughter of Joseph and Maria (Lelak) Oravetz. Maddison was born prematurely and spent some time in the neo-natal department at Conemaugh Hospital in Johnstown, but is doing fine now.


amygrad4.jpg (20911 bytes)Amy Darin, daughter of Shirley (Bungo) and Bob Darin, graduated from the University at Buffalo, School of Architecture, in May. She was named to the Dean's List for the Spring 2000 semester. Amy will attend graduate school at the University at Buffalo for her Masters in Architecture. She also became engaged to Michael Stockinger, Jr. The wedding is planned for July 2002. 

joegrad1.jpg (15452 bytes)Joey Darin, son of Shirley (Bungo) and Bob Darin, graduated from Grand Island High School as a member of the Class of 2000. He was an intern with the local police department on Grand Island during his senior year. Joey will study Criminal Justice at SUNY Brockport in the Fall.

Jean Fleshman, daughter of Kathy (Rebar) and Duane Fleshman, graduated from the University of New England on May 8, 1999. She is working as a licensed Social Worker for a non-profit organization called New Pathways. She enjoys her work helping teenagers who have been in foster care prepare for life out on their own. She is living in Glen Burnie, Maryland.

Kathy and Duane, both still working full-time, are also life and health insurance agents with Primerica, and are preparing to become financial advisors after retirement.


Elmer Rebar, son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Swartz) Rebar, died on August 9, 1999. He was born February 8, 1925, and was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Jane, who died November 3, 1989. 

Carl Knapp, husband of Marion (Henry) Knapp, died June 13, 2000, in Sun City Center, Florida. A memorial service was held on June 22, followed by inurnment with military honors at Florida National Cemetery, Bushnell, Florida. Carl was born on September 9, 1924, the son of Andrew Edward and Helen (Valco) Knapp. He was the grandson of Barney and Maria (Kozak) Valco of Barnesboro, Pennsylvania. Carl was diagnosed with Atypical Parkinson's Disease about 4 years ago. After breaking his hip in March in a fall in his home, he was forced to move into a nursing home until his death in June.

General News

Over the July 4th weekend, there was a "mini" Bloom reunion at Brenda (Lamar) Walck's home. Brenda is the daughter of Della (Bloom) and Blair Lamar. It was a get-together so her sister, Linda (Lamar) Perman (visiting from her home in Lutz, Florida), could see some of the relatives. Carrie (Bloom) Townsend Mathews, her son, Hugh, and daughter-in-law, Darlis, came in from Missouri and Indiana to visit. Cousin Shirley (Bungo) Darin took some "family photos", which she'll make available on her website as soon as she can. Five of the eight children of Anna and Singleton Bloom were present. All of the "kids" were there with our families.


My Trip to Ellis Island
Shirley Darin

ellisisa.jpg (19639 bytes)It's been a goal of mine for many years to travel to Ellis Island-to "retrace the steps of my paternal grandmother" (albeit unencumbered by her bundled possessions and the harrowing memory of the trans-Atlantic journey), to experience in a small way what she may have seen entering the country she had only heard about. I only knew her for the first ten years of my life but have so many vivid memories of her and the few stories she used to tell about her trip to America on the ship. I was in awe of her. She was merely seventeen years old when she (and her sisters) left their parents forever in the old country and immigrated here to experience the American dream. If I could talk with her today, I would ask her first "how could it have been that bad to leave your loved ones and travel to a strange land", and then I'd say "my God, thank you, thank you for coming to America".

Visiting Ellis Island can be an emotional trip, that is, for those of us who "dwell on our ancestral roots" (as my husband implies-not his "thing"). But I believe that to explore our past is to enrich our lives with knowledge gained about those who came before us. Most may not have been stars or contributed anything substantial to our history books, but they did somehow get themselves to America and paved the way for us to live in the greatest country in the world.

The present-day journey to Ellis Island begins much as it did for my grandmother and the twelve million other immigrants who entered in the early twentieth century. Sailing past the oh-so-impressive "Lady Liberty" and her majestic torch, we disembarking ferry passengers filed out toward Ellis Island's impressive brick and limestone Main Building. Inside, the Baggage Room houses a collection of baskets, trunks and suitcases brought by the immigrants. (Confession-my husband and kids wished we had brought Great Grandmother Katalin Kozak's steamer trunk and left it with the others-okay so it smells a little...) Upstairs we visitors guided ourselves through the massive Registry Room, meticulously restored to its appearance in 1918-1924 (Grammy Bungo arrived before 1905 so it looked a bit different to her) and recreated "dormitory room". Exhibits on the three floors trace Ellis Island's history and the complex story of American immigrants. So many stories, so many precious belongings, so much history! (...too much "stuff" to keep Mom from catching the earlier ferry back to New York...but guess who actually enjoyed guessed it-the family...maybe it wasn't so boring after all!) As my husband in all his most humorous wisdom commented, "what the heck was so bad about this place for the immigrants?-after they were done with all that "immigrant stuff", they could get their souvenirs at the ever-so-clean gift shop and then be fed a healthy meal with bottled water at the Ellis Island Restaurant-for a price of course". Grammy would have loved him!

Joyce Rebar

In 1980, when the United States men's hockey team had their "Miracle On Ice" in the Olympics - beating the Russians in the semi-finals, and ultimately winning the gold medal - I decided ice hockey would be so much fun to play. Unfortunately, there were no girls' teams in Maryland (or I didn't think there were). Years later, in about 1995, one of my friends mentioned that she was going to join a hockey team. Again, I thought it sounded like lots of fun, but I thought you had to know how to play already. It wasn't until 1997 that I met another ice hockey player, from a team called the Washington Wolves. The team gladly accepted beginners - and so my "ice hockey career" began.

The Washington (Wolves) Women's Ice Hockey Club plays in the Mid-Atlantic Women's Hockey League. We travel to games in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia. There is an "A" Team, for the more experienced players; a "B" Team, for the intermediate players; and a "C" Team, for the beginners. In 1997, the "C" Team was not yet in existence. All of the beginners joined the "B" Team. The 1997-98 season was a pretty pathetic one for the Wolves' "B" Team, since most of us were still learning to skate, as well as learn the game of hockey. We lost all of our games, but we were having the time of our lives! Many of us went to ice hockey clinics and skating lessons on the side. I learned of a clinic at Patterson Park in Baltimore, where an ex-minor league player named Steve Wirth was teaching hockey to girls and women. Sunday mornings were spent at the clinic; and these women eventually put together a Friday night pick-up session, where we would play each other. One team wore white jerseys and the other team wore black jerseys, but we were all called the "Patterson Park Penguins". The clinic was eventually featured on the local news, and the Penguins were written about in the Baltimore Sun newspaper.

As most of the players on the Washington Wolves B Team were improving our skills in leaps and bounds, and the team added a few good players, we won half our games in the 1998-99 season. Things got even better in the 1999-2000 season, as we lost only 2 games. The championship trophy was technically ours, but was lost in a controversial decision where we were forced to forfeit one of our wins. No matter - we knew that in three short seasons, we had climbed from the basement to the top of the heap!

Personally, I have gone from a person who didn't know how to skate, to being trusted as a utility player who plays all three positions (wing, center, and defender). For the upcoming season, I was voted in as Vice President of the Washington Wolves. So I intend to help the club remain a class act - on and off the ice!

Well, that's it for another year and another newsletter. Please remember to drop us a line next year when you get the reunion invitation, and let us know of any special events that have occurred in your family. We want everyone to feel like they're a part of the family, and we do this by sharing your information with others. You can play a big role in this endeavor.

Dot Polenik and Jim Rebar


Photo Gallery

Kozaks and Valcos

Ancestral Altar

This photo was taken in 1995. It is the altar of the church in Nizna Mysla where the Rebars, Herpaks, and Kozaks all originated.

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