Hungarians celebrate their centennial

Alice Bredeck (left) of Elk River chats with Tonya (Hohlen) Hipsag, also of Elk River, and Debbie Holzem, formerly of Elk River but now of Waubun, Minn., following an ending program and snack including the Hungarian pastry kifli, during the Rotz family reunion at Meadowvale Elementary School. Tonya and Debbie are married to Rotz descendants, as Tonya is the spouse of Mark Hipsag and Debbie is the spouse of Pat Holzem, whose mother was a Barsody. The other women described Alice as a good friend to many in the family. Alice said she didn’t think she should be photographed, as she isn’t even Hungarian. “Neither am I,” said Debbie, “but I married into it and I’ve learned to make the kifli.” Tonya noted that she and Mark both have strong roots in Elk River. “My husband’s related to the other half of Elk River that I wasn’t before I married into it,” she said.


Elk River High School classmates Bob Rotz (left) of Zimmerman and Mark Lerud of Elk River share stories during a reunion July 21. This was no class reunion, but rather a family centennial reunion that drew more than 600 people to Meadowvale Elementary School which is in the area of Elk River where Hungarian immigrants John and Elizabeth Rotz settled in 1912. Lerud married into the family, as he is the spouse of LuAnn (nee Barsody) Lerud, another Elk River classmate. Barsody was the married name of John and Elizabeth’s daughter, Katie, who was one of nine children in the second generation. Reunion guests determined that six or even seven generations were represented there, Bob Rotz said, with travelers from across the country, “from Connecticut to California.”