Milbrue Mae (Paget) Heitschmidt was born to Albert and Pearl (Clow) Paget on November 27, 1905, in Valley Township, Osborne County, Kansas, and grew up in Covert, Kansas, where she graduated from the Covert Rural High School in 1924. Milbrue went on to Fort Hays State College in Hays, Kansas, where she received a teaching certificate, and then taught school for many years. She later became a graduate of Fort Hays State College.
Milbrue married Ernest Heitschmidt in her parents’ home in Covert at high noon on July 28, 1929. That occasion also marked the beginning of another hobby/career. She made and decorated her own wedding cake and probably never dreamed of becoming so well known in quite a wide area as the one to seek out if you needed a special cake for a special occasion! She quit decorating cakes professionally in 1986 after fifty-seven years, but that didn’t stop her from making them for many get-togethers. For her ninetieth birthday, she insisted on making and decorating the cakes for her own party.
Following their marriage, the Heitschmidts farmed for several years in the Waldo and Codell, Kansas, areas before moving to Natoma, Kansas, in 1952. After moving to Natoma, they operated the Natoma Implement Company besides continuing to farm.
Milbrue was always very interested in working with youth. Being an excellent cook and seamstress, she was a 4-H leader for a total of fifteen years. She also worked with Future Homemakers of America (FHA) chapters. She was also very proud of her involvement with the Rainbow Girls and was always there for them.
Milbrue was also always very interested in education. After retiring from regular teaching, she continued to substitute until she was sixty-eight years old.
A highlight of Milbrue and Ernest’s lives was their 50th anniversary celebration in 1979. It was held at the elegant Das Koelling Haus Restaurant in Natoma and was attended by over 300 relatives and friends.
Ernest passed away on January 29, 1980. Milbrue kept the business going at her home for another six years, then sold the business and her home, moving to Manhattan, Kansas, to be near her daughter Dorine. Never content to be idle, she quickly became active in the Welcome Wagon Club, Senior Citizens Club, Quilters Club, Christian Women’s’ Club, and the Order of the Eastern Star in Manhattan.
At the age of eighty her brother-in-law coaxed Milbrue to go to Topeka and compete in the Kansas Senior Olympics. She entered the javelin, shotput, and discus, and won two gold medals and the trophy for being the oldest female participant. Then she went on to national games in St. Louis; Syracuse, New York; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana – winning still more medals. After the Syracuse games she was invited to carry the torch to open the Missouri Senior Olympics in Kansas City.
Milbrue attended the Kansas state competition every year and four national events from 1987 through 1998, bringing home gold, silver, and bronze medals. In 1995 she competed in the U.S. National Senior Sports Classic V held in San Antonio, Texas. Held every two years, the competition drew 8,500 participants. Milbrue was the oldest in the 85-90 age group and earned the gold medal in the javelin and bronze medals in both the discus and shotput events.
Milbrue passed away on in Manhattan on October 28, 2001, and was laid to rest in the Natoma Cemetery at Natoma, Kansas. Her spirit and example of seizing the opportunities that life offers continues to define the best in the past and future of Osborne County history.