The Oravetz, Rebar, Prusak, Kuzio, Herpak, and Kovachik Families of Pennsylvania
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 2001  Issue 13 August 2001

tony2.jpg (34028 bytes)(Tony Venerick)

This year's newsletter is dedicated to the memory of Earl A. "Tony" Venerick, who died March 19, 2001, at the age of 79. Tony was a fixture at our reunions, mixing easily with all sides of the family. We will miss his cheerful demeanor, his infectious smile, and most of all his companionship.

Welcome to the 20th annual family reunion of descendants of the Oravetz (Oravec), Rebar, Kovachik, Lelak, and Kozak families. Twenty years ago, when Zella Herpak Prusak first proposed we hold this reunion, none of us thought it would last more than a few years. Like all families, ours was splintering apart, as children married, moved away, and became too far removed generation-wise from the old timers. Sadly, almost nobody is remembered more than two generations. But we have worked hard in this newsletter to note the events of each year that are important to us, and we have tried to keep the memory of our immigrant ancestors alive.

In The Family Portrait this year we are focusing on Andrew and Kathrine Rebar. We have no pictures of them, and we have few stories about them. They died a few months apart in 1921. They came to America, raised a family and then faded away, in just about the same amount of time as we have been holding this reunion. Think about that.

2000 Attendance

At the 2000 reunion there were about 49 attendees from 7 states.

Florida: Mary Kay and Lou Paterno (Miami Shores).

Maryland: Joyce Rebar (Baltimore); Jean Hogan (Baltimore), Ed and Mary Rebar (Bowie), Natalie and Curtis Strength (Crofton), and Jim and Carolyn Rebar (Columbia).

Michigan: Donna Breyer and sons, Willie and Tim (Oxford); Karen and Rick Semik and daughters, Valerie Ann, Leah Kathleen, and Erica Lynn (Memphis); John Rebar and daughter, Heather (Clinton Township); and Stella Rebar (Warren).

Ohio: Bill and Mary Prusak (North Royalton).

Pennsylvania: Dave and Elsie Rebar (Latrobe); Evelyn and Mark Stoops (Shermansdale); Dennis Stoops (Shermansdale); Robert Stoops; Mike and Jean Kuzio (Altoona); Michele McCaulley and children Kaitlyn, Zach, Brett, and Maddison (Altoona); John Kuzio and children, Melissa, Robert, and Monica Kuzio (R.D. Barnesboro); Dot Polenik (R.D. Clymer); Marlene Kohute (Ramey); Stephen Kohut and Irene Lucas; Bob White (Glenshaw); Mary White (Glenshaw); and Cody Wolf.

Virginia: Tony Pasquale (Centreville).

West Virginia: Dave Rebar, Jr.


csivy.jpg (28831 bytes)(Donna Sivy, Cathy Sivy Egnor, and Jill Sivy)

Cathy Sivy and Greg Egnar were married on August 5, 2000. Cathy is the daughter of Gerald and Donna (Linsenbigler) Sivy, granddaughter of William and Helen (Oravec) Linsenbigler, great-granddaughter of Alex and Elizabeth (Javorszky) Oravec.

Stephen Leigh Kohute and Irene Elaine Lucas were married on July 1, 2001. It is the second marriage for both. Irene is a music coordinator at Penn State University, and Stephen is self-employed. Between them, they have 5 children: Nadia, 20, Andrew, 18, Larissa, 15, Stephen, 16, and Jason, 15. Stephen is the son of David and Marlene (Rebar) Kohute, grandson of Joseph and Elizabeth (Swartz) Rebar, and great-grandson of Andrew and Kathrine (Kozak) Rebar.

linda.jpg (44511 bytes)(Linda and Troy with Frank and Barbara)

Linda Marie Rebar and Troy Robert Snyder were married on October 14, 2000, at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Laurel, Maryland. Linda is the daughter of Frank and Barbara (Jager) Rebar, granddaughter of John and Margaret (Oravetz) Rebar, great-granddaughter of Andrew and Kathrine (Kozak) Rebar and Joseph and Maria (Lelak) Oravetz.

Jeffrey Thomas Falgout was married after Christmas 2000 in Colorado. His wife's name is Candace. They are currently building a house in Colorado. Jeff is the son of Les and Mary Ann (Oravetz) Falgout, grandson of Rudolph and Veronica (Keblesh) Oravetz, and great-grandson of Joseph and Maria (Lelak) Oravetz.


David Jay ("D. J.") Kohute was born on August 11, 2000, to David and Rebecca (Noble) Kohute. D. J. is the grandson of David and Marlene (Rebar) Kohute, grandson of Joseph and Elizabeth (Swartz) Rebar, and great-grandson of Andrew and Kathrine (Kozak) Rebar.

Gabrielle Marie was born on July 5, 2001, to Dana Marie Kuzio and Chad Stevens. Gabrielle is the granddaughter of John and Betty (Bell) Kuzio, great-granddaughter of Michael and Veronica (Oravetz) Kuzio, and great-great-granddaughter of Joseph and Maria (Lelak) Oravetz.


willie1.jpg (9546 bytes)(Willie Breyer)

Willie John Breyer, son of Bill and Donna (Rebar) Breyer, graduated on June 12, 2001, from Oxford High School, Oxford, Michigan. Willie is the grandson of John and Stella (Nazarek) Rebar, great-grandson of John and Margaret (Oravetz) Rebar, and great-great-grandson of Andrew and Kathrine (Kozak) Rebar and Joseph and Maria (Lelak) Oravetz. He plans to attend the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor in the fall.

Heather Ann Rebar, daughter of John and Vicki Rebar, graduated in June from L'Anse Creuse High School, Michigan. Heather is the granddaughter of John and Stella (Nazarek) Rebar, great-granddaughter of John and Margaret (Oravetz) Rebar, and great-great-granddaughter of Andrew and Kathrine (Kozak) Rebar and Joseph and Maria (Lelak) Oravetz. She also plans to attend the University of Michigan in Flint in the fall.

cindy.jpg (12838 bytes)(Cindy Kus)

Cynthia K. Kus, daughter of Phil and Patty (Rebar) Kus, graduated on June 8, 2001, from Lake Orion High School, Lake Orion, Michigan. Cynthia is the granddaughter of John and Stella (Nazarek) Rebar, great-granddaughter of John and Margaret (Oravetz) Rebar, and great-great-granddaughter of Andrew and Kathrine (Kozak) Rebar and Joseph and Maria (Lelak) Oravetz. She plans to attend the University of Michigan at Flint in the fall. (See her write-up in the General News section)

Jeannine Falgout, daughter of Les and Mary Ann (Oravetz) Falgout, was granted a Master's Degree in Louisiana in May 2001. We have no further details.


Earl A. "Tony" Venerick, born October 17, 1921, died March 19, 2001. Tony was the beloved husband of Elma Rebar. He is survived by his wife, son, Earl Jr., and daughter, Shelley. Tony was one the most affable people at the reunion each year. Elma said that everyone truly loved him. He came to every reunion except the one last year, something he looked forward to every year. He will be greatly missed, and will always be remembered.

General News

Heather and Teresa Rebar, daughters of John and Vicki Rebar, were members last year of the L'Anse Creuse High School Band. The band finished in 7th Place in the Michigan State Band Championship this year, and marched in the 69th Annual Hollywood, California, Christmas Day Parade. They finished in First Place in the Holiday Bowl Competition.

Willie Breyer, son of Bill and Donna Breyer of Oxford, Michigan, is the 2001 Michigan State Wrestling Champion, Division 2, 215-pound weight class. His record was 19-0 in this class in 2001, and he led his high school team to the Oakland County, Michigan, Title in January. Willie will be competing for the National Title in New Jersey. In his four years of high school wrestling, Willie's record was an impressive 133 wins and only 31 losses.

Norann Lustfield, the great-granddaughter of Valentine ("Barney") and Mary (Kozak) Valko sent this little write-up about her side of our family:

"Here is the status on the 3 remaining children of Thomas & Helen Valco, grandchildren of Maria Kozak Valco: Norman is 82 and in good health, living near San Antonio TX with his wife, Lois. They have 3 children and 5 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild. Elmer is 77, still a bachelor and lives in the Cleveland area. Betty is 76 and lives with her husband, Norman Raymond in Kalkaska Michigan. They spend the winters in San Diego California. They had 5 children & 7 grandchildren."

Georgia (Rebar) Stice, daughter of George and Anna (Chatnick) Rebar, sent us this update:

"The Georgia (Rebar) Stice family are all well and happy. My daughter Dawn Helt has two children; April is 13 years old and Adam is 5 years old. Dawn is working temporarily as a waitress and plans to put her extended education to work in the fall in computer networking - go Dawn. My son William and his wife Kim have four daughters; Destinee- 8 yrs, Katarina- 6 yrs, Angelina- 4 and Abby will be two this summer. All of my 6 grandchildren are gorgeous (spoken like a real grandmother). William is working very hard starting a home construction business. He is the hardest working person I know.

"I am still single and love my independence, but I'm still available for Mr. Right if he's out there. I work administratively for Booz-Allen & Hamilton in Hanover, MD. They are a world-wide Management & Technology Consulting Company. I belong to Parents Without Partners, Women of the Moose, and I help to support the American Legions in the area through my Bingo efforts (I love to play)."

JimCarNap.JPG (34311 bytes)(Jim and Carolyn and their 'new' house)

Jim and Carolyn (Young) Rebar bought a retirement home in November 2000. Their historic house was built around 1850 and is located in Napoleon, Ohio, population 9,000. Napoleon is near Toledo, Detroit, and Fort Wayne in beautiful farm country. Jim and Carolyn are in the process of restoring their vintage home and plan to retire and move to Ohio in mid-2002.

Bill and Sandy (Kohute) Harchak and their family moved into their new home in Ramey, Pennsylvania. They build their home themselves.

Heather Ann Rebar, daughter of John and Vicki Rebar, sent this item for the newsletter:

"I graduated this year with honors from L'Anse Creuse High School in Harrison Township, Mi. While in High School, I participated in the Band program for all 4 years. We were very successful this year. We placed 7th in the state at the championships. Also, we went to California to participate in the Hollywood Christmas Parade. There was also a competition there and we placed 1st and were named the Grand Champions of the weekend.

"Other than band, I did the usual things an 18 year old student would do, work and hang out with friends. I have worked at Kids R Us for close to 8 months now and plan to transfer to the Flint store so I can work closer to school. I plan on attending the University of Michigan-Flint campus to major in Psychology. Maybe once I get my degree you will see me on Oprah (taking the place of "Tell it as it is Phil") or in the local book store window on the cover of my new book. I have very high hopes for my future.

"For starters though, I will be a full time student with 14 credit hours and a job. I plan to reside in an apartment with my cousin Cindy Kus, who plans on going to the same school as me. No matter how much Aunt Patty may not like the idea, it works for us. I plan on coming home frequently to stock up on food and hang out with my family and my boyfriend of 11 months named Justin.

"This is what I have figured out right now, but all is subject to change if it doesn't work out."

The Chesterfield Reunion,
July 2001
Jim Rebar

On July 7, 2001, my sisters, Dorothy Polenik and Nancy Rebar, and I joined Marlene (Rebar) Kohut, Bill and Sandy (Kohut) Harchak, Elma (Rebar) Venerick, Shelly Venerick, and numerous grandchildren, for a reunion of descendants of residents of Chesterfield, Clearfield County, Pennsylvania. The reunion, held on a farm owned by Mr. George Koval, was sponsored by Mr. Koval and the neighboring Duke family. Chesterfield is a rather large area between Ramey and Irvona that is the location of the farm that was owned by Andrew and Kathrine (Kozak) Rebar at the time of their deaths in 1921. To the surprise of the Rebar-descendant attendees, just about everyone at the reunion was of Slovak descent, including the two sponsoring families (Duke, according to the family, was spelled Duch in Slovakia). At one time, Chesterfield had a schoolhouse and its own post office, and apparently was a sizable town. The Rebar farm, if it was in fact considered to be part of Chesterfield, was at the very far end of the community, on the same road, but several miles distant.

farm1.jpg (44654 bytes)(Creek on Rebar farm, taken July 7, 2001)

Later in the afternoon, the family members took two vehicles and drove the length of Chesterfield Road to the old Rebar homestead. To reach the farm, they had to pass through the Kitko farm, the owner of which is the grandson of the original owner, Andy Kitko (more about him later). The Rebar farm really can only be reached by going through the Kitko farm, and with the access road long grown over with brush, the current owner graciously gave permission for us to walk back to the farm, but everyone except Jim Rebar and Christopher Bungo, Marlene's grandson, declined because of the high grass and weeds. Jim and Christopher failed to find the old stone foundation, and after taking a few pictures of the area, re-joined the others. The owner, Mr. Kitko, said he did not mind at all if we return in the Fall to have another look.

AndKatGrave.jpg (33593 bytes)(Andrew and Kathrine Rebar grave, Brisbane, Pennsylvania)

After leaving the farm, Dot, Nancy and I drove to Brisbane to visit the cemetery where Andrew and Kathrine Rebar are buried. It took about 45 minutes to locate the grave, and the three of us were able to pay our respects to our grandparents. Andrew and Katherine died several months apart in 1921, she in August from kidney failure and edema, he in November from tuberculosis and miner's lung disease. Kathrine was 48 years old when she died, and Andrew was 55. They were married in Nizna Mysla, Slovakia, in October 1891, and Andrew immediately set out for America, arriving in 1892, and working in a coal mine in or near Ramey. Kathrine joined him in 1896. They purchased the farm in 1907 (see accompanying story) , apparently because Andrew's lungs could no longer take the dampness of coal mines.

There are mixed stories on life on the farm. My dad, John Rebar had mentioned that the stream flowing through it flooded every spring, making it difficult for anyone to get in or out until the water subsided. Marlene related a story passed down through her family of how Kathrine would throw the horses' reins over her shoulder and plow the fields herself. The whole family apparently sold eggs, milk, and vegetables to neighboring townsfolk. We tried to imagine the children walking to school in Chesterfield each day, but the distance was just too great. Perhaps there was another school closer to the farm? All four of the oldest boys (Andy, John, Mike, and Joe) went to work in Mine 22 in nearby Smoke Run when still very young, and they walked to and from work. When Andrew and Kathrine died, the farm was sold to a group of school teachers who used it as a retreat.

About 10 years ago, Dorothy, Andy, Carolyn, and I visited the farm and had a chance to talk with Andy Kitko, who remembered the Rebar family from his childhood. He said his clearest memory was of hearing them playing music and singing! Mr. Kitko had hauled the old cornerstone from the fallen-down Rebar house back out to his own house, using a tractor. It had a date on it. The cornerstone pictured here was at the Kitko farm this July, but it seemed smaller than the one I remembered from 10 years ago.

The Rebar Farm

corstone.jpg (35336 bytes)(Cornerstone, Andrew and Kathrine Rebar house, "1854")

In 1907 Andrew Rebar was living in Ramey. At that time, he spelled his surname R-I-B-E-R, and that's how it appears on documents relating to the purchase of the farm. On April 4th of that year, he purchased 128 acres of farmland from Peter A. Johnson for $1025, of which he paid half upon delivery of the deed on April 15th, with the rest to be paid within three years. Before selling the farm to Andrew Rebar, Mr. Johnson had sold the timber rights to a Mr. F. T. MacDonald, but the timber had not yet been cleared.

On November 5, 1907, Andrew Rebar paid $300 more on the debt. The note that accompanied the payment said that deed would be held by Notary Public Harry Boulton until the $200 balance was paid by him out of Rev. A. Houst check to J. B. McGrath, attorney for Peter A. Johnson. Failing that, Andrew Rebar was to pay the balance personally to Mr. McGrath.

When the farm was sold to Andrew Rebar, he got the mineral rights to only five acres of it, which was the land underlying the buildings on the property. Mr. Johnson retained for himself the mineral rights to 123 of the acres. These mineral rights gave him unrestricted right of ingress and egress, unrestricted right to erect buildings, mine minerals, and leave the waste from the mining on the property. He was without any liability for damage to the property or to the springs and streams on it. In short, Mr. Johnson got away with theft.

(Andrew Rebar's signature)

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


Oravec Descendants

Ed Linsenbigler, Alan Oravec, and Sandy (Clagett) Oravec.

From the Kozak/Valco Side...

Tom and Helen (Osif) Valco on their wedding day, about 1914.

Helen (below) in the 1990s.

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