Mildred Florence Heath, 104, of Curtis, Nebraska, former long-time Overton resident and newspaper publisher, died Wednesday, December 12th, 2012, at Senior Living Choices of Curtis at Curtis, Nebraska.
She was born January 4th, 1908, in Curtis, Nebraska, to Donald O. and Ella N. (Strickland) Nelson.
Mildred was a graduate of the Curtis School of Agriculture. Long before there was a woman’s liberation movement, Mildred was making her own mark. She was very athletic in high school and was involved in baseball, soccer and basketball.
She met her future husband, Blair Heath, while attending the Nebraska School of Agriculture. They were married on June 19th, 1927, in Curtis and shortly after their marriage, Blair traveled to Ohio to buy their first linotype machine. They taught themselves how to run the machine and purchased the Farnam Echo in 1928. In 1938, the Overton village board came to the Heaths asking them to start a paper in Overton, which they did and in 1948, purchased the Elm Creek Beacon, which was later changed to the Beacon Observer. They would own and operate the Beacon and Observer until 1970, when they sold the paper to their daughter and son-in-law, Norm and Polly Taylor. The couple’s three daughters, Donella, Polly and Barbara were all raised in the newspaper office. Mildred has outlived them all. Mildred continued to be involved in the running of the business until it was sold on June 1st, 2009.
Mildred was active in the United Methodist Church in Overton as well as the United Methodist Women, D.A.R. in Kearney, the American Legion Auxiliary, the Overton Community Center Board, the NRA, and the Dawson County Historical Society.
Her life centered around the newspaper and her family, both of which were all rolled into one. In 2008, Mildred was flown to Washington, DC, where she was honored as the oldest working person in the United States and inducted into the Washington Press Club; of course, Mildred took this all in stride!
Mildred is survived by two sons-in-law, Norm Taylor of Overton, Nebraska; Elroy Lierman of Kearney, Nebraska; brother-in-law, Carl (Nadine) Heath of North Platte, Nebraska; four grandchildren, Gail (Paul) Johnson of Stockville, Nebraska; Sue (Curtis) Moore of Central City, Nebraska; Garry Tiede of Odessa, Nebraska; Michael (Angela) Lierman of Kearney, Nebraska; five great-grandchildren, Jason (Maggie) Potter of Stapleton, Nebraska; Sam and Addison Moore of Central City, Nebraska; Bailey and Cooper Lierman of Kearney, Nebraska; one great-great-grandson, Quade Potter of Stapleton, Nebraska; as well as many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.
Mildred was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Blair; three daughters, one grandson; five brothers, Alvah, Donald “Tot”, Tyra, Leonard and John Nelson; four sisters, Neva Lofton, Eva Roberts, Eunice Bunney and Dorothy Nielsen.
Funeral Services were held Saturday, December 15th, 2012, at 2 p.m. at the United Methodist Church in Overton with Reverend Kathy Cole officiating.
Burial was in the Overton Cemetery at Overton.
Visitation was held Friday, December 14th, 2012 at the Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington.
Memorials are suggested to the Overton Methodist Church, the Overton Volunteer Fire Department or the Donor’s Choice.
Reynolds-Love Funeral Home in Lexington is in charge of arrangements.
Please share online condolences to the family through: reynoldslovefuneralhome.com.