President - Rose Marie Jisa

Email Rose Marie Jisa

12185 Pheasant Run Circle
North Royalton, OH 44133-5678

Education: B.S. in Education , Youngstown State University Major: Spanish Minor: Business

Master in Education, Kent State University Business Education Doctoral work, The University of Akron School Administration

Work History:
Secondary School Teacher 1961-1975
Secondary School Administrator, Parma City School 1976-1992
Adjunct Assistant Professor, Cleveland State University

Growing up in Avon Park, a small Slovenian enclave in the city of Girard, Ohio I had the opportunity to become involved in the Slovenian culture at an early age. Memories include the many activities of Circle 7 of the SNPJ—learning to sing Slovenian folksongs, performing at many holiday functions, dancing the polka, and just having lots of fun with my young friends.

I’ve always been interested in my heritage, but like so many of us, I never took the time to talk with my parents/grandparents about our history, so I had a lot of work to do! In 1986, I attended a genealogy meeting featuring Al Peterlin—and I got the “bug”! I immediately volunteered to help as an editor and have since then, initiated the organization of an SGSI South Florida State Chapter in 1997 and upon returning to Ohio in 1999, initiated the organization of the Ohio Chapter of SGSI. In 2007, I became president of SGSI and am thrilled to serve the society’s very important projects and membership.

Traveling to Slovenia six times in the past 14 years and studying the language at the University of Ljubljana on two of these trips, I’ve had some very unique experiences delving into my family’s history including meeting relatives I never knew I had! I’ve researched records at the Archbishopric Archives in Ljubljana and visited several churches in my family’s villages as well as traveled throughout Slovenia. My surname search includes Macek, Dolinar, and Zgonc.

CEO - Al Peterlin

516 Gale Road
Camp Hill, PA 17011

My grandparents Jozef Peterlin and Rose Jerin came to Forest City, Pennsylvania in the early 1900s. He worked in the coal mines and died young. She lived a long and full life filled with the laughter of children and grandchildren. My interest in all things Slovenian grew from her stories, and I founded the Slovenian Genealogy Society in 1986. I've visited Slovenia several times, and I truly feel "at home" there although I do not speak even one word of Slovenian.

I joined the US Air Force as a young man, and received my education from them, a B.S. in Meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. I obtained an MS in Climatology from Purdue University while working for the National Weather Service. I ended my government career by retiring as Chief Meteorologist for the United States Department of Agriculture in 1999. I retired from the USAF Reserves on January 3, 1995.

I now consult thru my own weather firm, ERREX, Inc and I am a partner in a climatology forecasting firm, Dynamic Predictables. You can hear me "on the air" each Tuesday morning on the Illinois Farm Bureau Radio Network. It may also be available on the internet. I also work full time as a "fundraising consultant" for non-profit organizations. While it might not seem possible, I enjoy genealogy, write poetry, and with my wife babysit for our three wonderful grandchildren.

Treasurer - Robert J. Kuhel

1159 S. Lincoln Ave.
Highland Park, IL 60035

Education: Master of Science in Business Administration from Universityof Notre Dame and an undergraduate degree majoring in accounting from Loyola University of Chicago

Business: President and CEO, Gerotec Inc.

Interests: Genealogy, sporting events, and classiccars

The SGSI Treasurer maintains all bank and investment accounts, deposits membership dues and donation payments, manages federal and state tax filings, and monitors the Society’s charitable status (501c3).

Robert J. Kuhel is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana and Loyola University of Chicago, Illinois. Bob is a seasoned professional having served as a chief financial officer at three Chicago non-profit hospitals , a Catholic system of eight hospitals , Executive Director of a Hospital/Physician Limited Partnership and is a licensed Nursing Home Administrator. His management services include physician groups, nursing homes, and other allied health care organizations. Bob’s experience and expertise includes contract negotiations, creative problem solving, new business development, and the ability to work as a dynamic team player.

Bob’s professional stewardship and volunteering includes: (10) years with the American Cancer Society, Lake County Chair and Illinois Division Boardmember; (21) years with Catholic Charities as a Lake County Board member and Finance Committee in the Archdiocese of Chicago; and (41) years as a member of the Healthcare Financial Management Association.

Bob, an SGSI member since 2007,is also an active member in other Slovenian organizations including the SNPJ,SWUA and the Slovenian Heritage Museum in Joliet, IL.

Bob traveled to Slovenia in September, 2008 as part of the membership group who participated in the SGSI conference. Bob is a first generation American, and his father, Emil Kuhel, emigrated from Kostanjevica naKrki, Slovenia in 1920. His grandfather, John, emigrated in 1913. His family names of research include: Kuhel or Kuhelj, Sekula and Skal.

Membership Director - Michael Zakrajsek

27825 Hickory Blvd.
Bonita Springs, FL 34134

Retired: Military Naval Commander, presently living in southwest Florida.

Businessman: Owned and operated a safety telecommunications business in Phoenix, AZ for five years.

Interests: Genealogy, traveling

The Membership Director is responsible for maintaining the membership directory information, greeting new members, maintaining the Society email address directory and notifies members when the quarterly newsletter is released.

I was born May 18, 1942 in Indianapolis, IN.  My father was first generation American, his parents emigrating from Slovenia in early 1912.  My mother was of German and Welsh/Irish extraction.  I left Indy in 1963, to escape the cold weather, and after several months of traveling in the southwest US, I enlisted in the Navy in Phoenix AZ.  I spent the next 23+ years in the Navy, serving in various Telecommunications, Special Warfare and Intelligence billets.  In March, 1967 I married Peggy, my first serious girlfriend, and now, my wife of 41 years.  In 1970 I was promoted to Warrant Officer and subsequently, ascended through the ranks, retiring in 1987 with the rank of Lt. Commander.


I returned to Phoenix and worked in various public safety telecommunications positions, retiring in 2002 as the Fire Department Telecommunications Superintendent.  For the next five years I provided consulting services to Police, Fire and EMS agencies in the southwest US, working out of Oxnard, CA.


In late 2007, I finally retired completely.  Peggy and I moved to southwest Florida where we are now year round residents (except when a hurricane is coming).  We have two sons, one in Phoenix and one in San Diego, and three grandchildren and two step-grandchildren.  We have twice visited Slovenia, including a month-long trip this year, and plan to make it an annual event.

Secretary - John Kirn

Education: Graduate of Western Reserve University
Cleveland Marshall Law School of Cleveland State University

John Kirn is a graduate of Western Reserve University and Cleveland Marshall Law School of Cleveland State University. After graduation from Western Reserve he joined the Peace Corps where he spent two years living in the interior of Brazil. He returned home and went to law school. His legal career was spent in corporate law. He retired from Oglebay Norton Company where he served as senior counsel and assistant secretary of the corporation. After retirement he began volunteering with the Legal aid Society of Cleveland and the Business Advisors of Cleveland, a non-profit organization of executives and entrepreneurs who give free advise to people on how to start a business.

John was interested in learning more of his Slovenian family history and joined SGSI in 2002. Since joining the society he has gathered much information and insight into genealogy research and greatly benefited from the recent fall 2008 trip to Slovenia. John is also active in the Ohio SGSI Chapter serving on the Oral History Committee.

Newsletter Editor - Sedaj Tesch

4621 E. Buist Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85044

Education: University of Phoenix; Business

Work History: Museum Registrar/Collections Management- 8 yrs.
Graphic Arts and Newsletter Editor- 12 yrs.
Office Manager, CMC Interconnect Technologies – Current

Interests: Genealogy, graphic arts, history, photography, yoga

The Newsletter Editor produces and publishes the Linden Tree on a quarterly basis. The main duties of the newsletter editor include; identifying content, soliciting articles for future editions, layout design and writing/ co-writing of member stories submitted for publication.

Sedaj Tesch joined the Slovenian Genealogy Society International, Inc. in 1996, with the hopes of being able to connect with other like-minded genealogists. She has volunteered her time as editor of the newsletter since 2004. Sedaj was born in Red Lodge, Montana in 1958. The oldest of six brothers and sisters, Sedaj was captivated by her Slovene heritage at an early age. Her family left the area of Ribnica, Gorenja vas, and other villages unknown from 1903 through 1909 to come to America to work in the Montana coalmines. Her family names of research include: Mavric (Mourich), Sedej, Petek, Zobec, and Subic.

Sedaj has been developing the story of her Slovene roots in hopes to not only preserve family history, but to “bring it to life”. Her current interests include creating a three generational family tree using a multi-media format. Sedaj lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, children, and grandchildren where she finds her richest fulfillment.