Last April, we covered the story of Easter Heathman, a witness to the Knute Rockne plane crash in 1931 who still to this day lives near the plane crash site. If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend you do. Also, here's a short video on Easter that is well worth watching. An addition to the story is that this past September, Notre Dame recognized Easter and his role as unofficial caretaker of the Rockne plane crash site with an honorary monogram before the Notre Dame-Penn State football game.
Mr. Heathman turns 90 years old in a few weeks and this note was posted up by a friend of the family on ndnation. I think it's a great idea and am reposting it here for those that missed it the first time. If you have a few spare minutes this week, I recommend you write a short note to Easter wishing him a happy birthday and thanking him for all the help he has given curious ND fans who have made the trip to Bazaar, Kansas these past 76 years.
March 14, 2007
We would like to take this opportunity to keep in touch with just some of the wonderful people our family has met through Dad’s devotion to helping strangers visit the crash site over the years.
As March 31st approaches, some of you will realize that Dad’s birthday will be following on April 7th. This year, his 90th birthday will fall on the day before Easter Sunday, so it will be a busy weekend for many of us. Dad doesn’t want a big celebration, so we are keeping his party small. I am sure he would appreciate hearing from any/all of you, thus the request for a card shower.
On April 29th, PBS will air a film called “Flint Hills: Meditations From a Kansas Prairie.” There is about 5 minutes of Dad taking the filmmaker to the monument and being interviewed in his kitchen, standing in front of his 2 ND awards, proudly wearing his Honorary Monogram blazer. The rest of the film is about the grasslands, the flowers, the rocks, the burning of the pastures, etc.. There is even going to be a “premier” shown at The Hitchin’ Post in Matfield Green this Saturday afternoon! To view the film on the web, you can go to: flinthillsfilm.com. If you get bored with the flowers and rocks, just fast forward about 35 minutes to Dad’s interview. The last part about the prairie fires is interesting.
The Flint Hills will also receive national recognition in the April issue of “National Geographic.” There is supposed to be about 20 pages about our hills, so you might want to check that out too. No, Dad didn’t make their story.
We hope this finds everyone doing well, and until we meet again, take care and keep in touch.
Sue Ann and John
RR 1, Box 73
Matfield Green, KS 66862