( Rashelle Babij & Gina Cena)


July 30 th & 31 st

White City , Saskatchewan

Myron Babij and Jeff Cena setting
up the Tonita Reunion Banner

Spaghetti relay: Jodie Hordenchuk,
Sharlene Tonita, Penny Tonita,
Kylee Tonita

Blanket relay


George Tonita Family

Radu Tonita Family

Neagu Tonita Family

Some of the Tudor Tonita Family

Floarea (Tonita) Pana Family

Peter and Irene Bachiu
Redlands, California

Vasile Tonita Family

Cutting placinta: L-R: Marie (Chiro) Fritz, Thelma (Monea) Salaba,

 Gina (Tonita) Cena, Doreen (Chiro) Koester

Sunday breakfast: L-R:  Kristen Pickthall, Virginia (Tonita) Silverson,Doug and Debbie Pickthall, Bryan Tonita, Carol Southward, Pat Mercan, Standing: Brad Tonita, Myron Babij

Visiting in the tent

Gloria Smith and Nick (Tonita) Penzari

Anna (Pana) Woods dancing with son Dan

First cousins: L-R. Back: Anna (Pana) Woods, Victoria (Pana) McIntosh, Marie (Tonita) McGeough, Dan Tonita, Virginia (Tonita) Silverson, Joan (Tonita) Pazuk,

Helen (Tonita) Gherasim  Front: Marie (Tonita) Soparlo, Steve Tonita, Dora (Tonita) Hordenchuk

Strong Family Resemblances: L-R: Back - Myra (Hordenchuk) Cole, Doris (Gherasim) Robinson, Front - Dora (Tonita) Hordenchuk, Helen (Tonita) Gherasim

A total of 192 Tonita descendants attended the reunion at White City, with family coming from California, Florida, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. The weather was outstanding with temperatures in the low 30’s both days. But with an air conditioned hall for respite, and a large tent canopy for shade outdoors, everyone was kept quite comfortable.

The event began with 9:00 a.m. registration on Saturday morning and a call to lunch at noon with the traditional “pot banging” to get everyone’s attention. The Dobrescu family had cleaned, prepared and creatively arranged bowls and trays of cold meats, cheese and vegetables. For dessert, everyone enjoyed delicious apple placinta, “home made” by an elderly member of the St. George Orthodox Cathedral in Regina. Lunch was followed with a brief opening by Gina Cena and Rashelle Babij, and then it was outside for the traditional relay games, tomfoolery, judge bribing, water fights, and the time honored “tug-o-war” contest between the teams. Four teams - “Sarmale”, “Placinta”, “Coliva”, and “Mamaliga” competed for the privilege of making Sunday morning breakfast. At 4 PM, Orville Ottenbreit, the photographer from Assiniboia gathered everyone together for family pictures. The men and boys hauled three large baseball bleachers into place so that we could all group together for the shot. This was followed by a wonderful catered meal of roast beef, cabbage rolls, pyrogies, mamaliga, veggies, salads, buns and dessert - much enjoyed by all.

The evening program was hosted by Vera Fontaine and Bill Tonita as MC’s. There are many talented relatives in the family! Featured performances included: a dance number by four young girls: Lena and Alex Staple and Lara and Risa Tonita, a song by Alexandra Paulhus, a drum and guitar performance by Thomas and Dylan Dobrescu, a beautiful harmony duet by Braeden and Garrett Woods, and a hilarious skit presented by members of the George Tonita family . All teams were challenged to identify a group of 16 photos of family from bygone years and only the “Sarmale” team correctly identified all 16 pictures – big kudos to Marie Tonita and Virginia Silverson for their help on that team.

Gina relayed the story of finding Nick Tonita Jr. During the search for family information for the History book, Gina called Pete Tonita in Windsor to ask if he knew the whereabouts of Nick. Pete relayed the fact that Nick’s mother had re-married and that Nick goes by the surname of Penzari. He also said that Nick was a school teacher and thought he still lived in Windsor. Gina did a search on the internet, and found a phone listing and address for a Nick Penzari in Windsor, Ontario. So she picked up the phone, called the number, and discovered that he was the Nick Tonita Jr that we had been searching for! Nick was so pleased to hear from Gina, and when he learned that there was a reunion being held, he immediately said that he and his partner, Gloria Smith would like to come – AND THEY DID! Needless to say, they were greeted with tons of hugs, and more than a few tears of joy. Congratulations Gina, on bringing home our lost lamb. Rashelle and Gina addressed the family and extended their gratitude to all who had volunteered their help over the weekend. The program ended with a displayed instruction by Bryan Tonita and assorted cousins on how to play “Digga, Digga” a game passed down to him by his grandfather, Neagu Tonita and his father, Pete Tonita. Many laughs of pure fun could be heard all throughout the hall as the family watched the game being played. A dance followed with grandparents, parents and children joining in on the dance floor.

Sunday morning breakfast sausages were cooked by Rick Tonita (Dan) and pancakes and eggs served up by Owen Paulhus and Martin Luesink. Other volunteers set up the banquet tables, made coffee and tea and kept the hot food coming. A Family Celebration service was hosted by Geraldine Barrett, accompanied by traditional hymn singing and a candle lighting ceremony in memory of all the first cousins who are no longer with us. This was followed with much visiting and looking at the family displays of pictures, crafts, and Romanian items in the display tent. A first draft copy of the Tonita Family History book was on display for all to see and was met with the approval of everyone there. The book is currently a little over 600 pages, with more pictures and stories to come. A Tonita Family Directory containing the names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdays and anniversaries of most everyone was a huge hit with everyone. The directory was for sale for each and everyone who wanted to purchase it.

A nice lunch of Bavarian sausages, barbequed by Rick and Ron Tonita (sons of Dan), were accompanied by potato salad, veggies, buns, and fruit, plus a whole array of delectable cakes, squares and delacies prepared by Mary and Thrisia Pana, and leftover apple placinta! The photographer arrived right after lunch with all the family pictures he had taken the day before.

“Special Note” – Congratulations to Steve and Peggy Tonita for bringing all 23 members of their family to the reunion. Their entire family (21 members at that time) also attended the family reunion in Assiniboia in the year 2000.

And thus ended another weekend of laughter, hugs, tears, memories, stories and new relatives met.

“Let’s Keep the Connection Alive”!