Tuesday, November 9, 2021
Donald and Marvin Heath--is there any connection
Years ago as an undergrad at Washburn University I had a professor named Dr. Marvin Heath. He taught philosophy and political science. From what I remember he was a Korean war veteran and had attended ivy/ivish league universities. He wore a fedora, a trench coat and smoked a pipe. Pretty much the quintessential professor stereotype. He lived in the Holiday/Central Park area of Topeka on Western in the 1200 block. His house was a large craftsman style 4 square. I am not sure when but Dr. Heath purchased a half dozen or so properties on that same block or nearby which he used as rentals. He took excellent care of them and by and large installed garages. He had the same tenants for 20 years or more, so I presume he was a good landlord. I have always theorized that this was in part because that area was devastated by the 1966 tornado and he picked up the properties cheap with the subsequent rush to the suburbs (white flight?) of his neighbors. This was a retirement income plan and a way to control his neighbors/keep his neighborhood intact. (He could not beat the tide though, several huge section 8 housing complexes would go in and the downturn of the neighborhood seemed inevitable after this). Anyhow, fast forward to a couple months ago. A friend of mine from California emails me about a new book--All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days by Rebecca Donner. It is about the Red Orchestra and one of it's leaders, an American woman from Wisconsin. Some of the keys players in this story are a couple from TOPEKA--yes, my six degrees of separation moment--Don and Louise Heath and their son Don. My friend asked me about the Heaths--presuming that I would know about them. I knew nothing. Now I have read the book and the wiki listing I know more, but not a lot. (Great book and an easy read by the way. I recommend it. FYI--the main character is beheaded by Hitler, I never knew this was a Nazi thing, ugh.) I have to wonder if this is a relative of the Dr. Heath I knew and I have started a mild search on it.
Posted by Christine at 4:45 AM
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