By Michelle Leidy-Franklin
CHENEY – Cheney resident Thelma Schmidt turned 100 years old on Sept. 7. She celebrated her birthday with friends and family at the Cheney Golden Age Home.
Thelma grew up in Turon, Kan. After graduating from high school, she attended training to become a registered nurse.
Thelma Schmidt married her husband Alvin Schmidt in 1945 in Corpus Christi, Texas while Alvin was in the Navy. When Alvin left the Navy, the couple moved to Cheney. They rented a farm and together raised four children, three boys and a girl.
Thelma took to farming life well. She maintained a large garden. She would can produce from her garden and local orchards for her family every year. Her cucumber pickles were entered in the Sedgwick County Fair for many years.
According to her daughter, Debbie Williams, Thelma also was an excellent seamstress and made all of the family’s clothes while she was growing up.
“She was always conscious of the latest styles, so that was nice,” said Williams. “She was so busy, I don’t know how she did it all.”
Thelma was an active member of the community. She was active in her local church and many social events. She was part of a friendship circle for military wives and she enjoyed playing cards with friends and neighbors.
Thelma has nine grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. Williams said her mother made sure to make her grandchildren feel special.
“She was just the best,” said Williams. “She was always doing special things for her grandkids. One summer, I sent my daughter to spend a week with her and they bought her a bike and a pool pass. She picked peaches and Mom made a pie that my daughter said was the best ever. She had a great time that summer.”
Thelma lost her mother when she was young. Her mother was bedridden throughout most of her young childhood. Williams believes her mother took the opportunity to try to make up for what she didn’t have as a child.
“She would say she had an ordinary life. She just worked hard and provided for her family,” said Williams.