With a smile that continues to sparkle and a mind that is sharp as ever, Twila Schmidt will celebrate her 100th birthday next Tuesday, Oct. 28.
Quick to acknowledge that in many ways it’s a different world today than it was 100 years ago, Schmidt is most flabbergasted by the evolution of the phone.
Being able to see the picture of a new family member born in Denver 10 minutes after the birth, by way of smartphone pictures, is almost unfathomable to the soon-to-be centenarian.
She has seen so much come into existence — from television, electricity, tractors and much more. But the high-end use of cellphones today is truly amazing to her.
From the practical side of living for 10 decades, Schmidt flashes her sweet smile as she serenely says, “My faith in the Lord God got me to my 100th birthday.” Living for her family has been her No. 1 thing, and she makes it clear that they are priority.
An avid reader, Schmidt continues her daily commitment to read her Portals of Prayer devotional. She peruses her local newspaper and anything to do with health, which she admits has always been a topic she’s had a keen interest in.
By way of television, she listens to her Sunday morning church program and is a faithful Dr. Phil follower — “and the news,” she adds emphatically, making it clear she keeps up with the happenings in the world.
Another key to Schmidt’s longevity points to something she says her mother always said: “Look at the good points in life.” Schmidt said she’s always believed in the importance of making the best out of situations, and she doesn’t dwell on the bad that happens.
Her granddaughter added to that, noting that Schmidt often said to the family, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.”
Born Oct. 28, 1914, in a little farmhouse in Lamar, Neb., Twila Arnold was the middle child, with brothers on both sides of her. The family moved to Holyoke when she was in the fifth grade.
She graduated as valedictorian of the Phillips County High School Class of 1933 and just last year celebrated her 80-year class reunion. She considers graduating at the top of her high school class as a key accomplishment in her life. It was only the beginning of a life full of the love of learning.
Only one day after her high school graduation, Twila married Willty Poos, and the couple moved to Amherst, where they farmed six quarters of wheat land. On the farm, she dressed chickens, milked cows, cleaned eggs, did all the bookwork and prepared three meals a day for the hired men. She had one hired girl to help her in the house.
On the farm, Twila and Willty had two sons: Verlin and Johnny.
In 1949, she went through a bitter divorce and in 1952 married Lawrence Schmidt. She helped Lawrence run Schmidt Oil Company, which was a filling station eight miles north of Holyoke. The Schmidts delivered fuel for area farmers, as well.
They bought a house in Holyoke in 1965, which Twila still calls home. They retired and sold their gas station in 1971. After retiring, they raised their granddaughter, Pennie Poos Ramey, who lived with them for about nine years until she graduated from Holyoke High School in 1980.
Both of her sons and her husband are deceased. Twila is a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Holyoke. She specifically wrote about her faith in her history printed in the “Those were the Days” Phillips County history book in 1989. At the end, Twila acknowledged the deaths of her parents.
She closed her life history in “Those were the Days” with the following: “We miss all the departed family, but we believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and that we’ll all be reunited again in heaven.”
Twila continued a happy, independent lifestyle until she fell and fractured her pelvis in 2008. Since that time, she has appreciated the assistance of family who have cared for her both in her own home and in their homes, as well. She still maintains independent thinking and living.
For instance, she still has a quarter of wheat land in Phillips County and continues to make the decisions on it. Granddaughter Dixie testifies that it is Twila who watches the wheat prices and decides when to sell. “Her mind is good enough to do that — trust me,” added Dixie.
Schmidt feels fortunate to have most of her family nearby in Colorado and Nebraska. It was a grand celebration last Sunday, Oct. 19, when more than 30 family members gathered at a local restaurant for dinner and then hosted Twila’s 100th birthday open house.
Her offspring includes her two sons (now deceased), stepson Robert Schmidt, four grandchildren, three stepgrandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren with one more on the way, and nine great-great-grands.
Many were able to join in Sunday’s celebration with Schmidt. The gathering also included her daughters-in-law, Mary Poos and Sharon Poos; and her ex-daughter-in-law, Mary Jane Allen.
It was a memorable open house celebration for Twila, where she had a wonderful time greeting friends as well as family. She looks forward to the official day next week when she joins the centenarian ranks.
Holyoke Enterprise October 23, 2014