He spent his childhood in Lancaster, Ohio, where he created the American flag as a school project After graduating from college, Heft became a high school teacher and later a college professor, and he also served as mayor of Napoleon, Ohio, for 28 years. After retiring from teaching, he became a motivational speaker.
Flag design and adoption
The story, also repeated in his obituary, says that when he was 17 years old, he did the flag design as a high school class project
Heft originally received a Bfor the project After discussing the grade with his high school teacher, Stanley Pratt, it was agreed that if the flag design was accepted by the United States Congress, the grade would be reconsidered.
The 50 star flag design that was the same as Heft"s flag design was chosen and adopted by presidential proclamation after Alaska and before Hawaii were admitted into the union in 1959. According to Heft, his teacher honored their agreement and changed his grade to an A for the project
Heft has also stated he had copyrighted designs for American flags with 51 to 60 stars.
Although some of them were 49-star versions, the vast majority were 50-star proposals. At least three, and probably more, of these designs were identical to Heft"s adopted design of the 50-star flag. Archived in the Eisenhower Presidential Center in Abilene, Kansas, only a small fraction of the proposed designs have ever been published.
On December 12, 2009, Heft died from a heart attack at Covenant Medical Center at the age of 68.