Growing up as the daughter of an Air Force pilot, Bette Offerman lived many places. The Braunfels Foundation Trust believes that it is extremely fortunate then for our community that Bette came home to New Braunfels to live. Her contributions have improved our schools, made our city a richer place in which to live, our Christmases a little merrier, and absolutely qualify her to be named a Living Legend of New Braunfels.
Bette was born in Harlingen where her father, Donald, was stationed. Bette’s mother, Marie, has deep roots in New Braunfels, and the Offermans lived here for a short time before living in Bermuda, Pittsburg, Los Angeles and Sembach Air Force Base in Germany. Returning from Germany, Bette lived in New Braunfels with her grandparents and finished her freshman year in high school. The Offermans’ last official assignment was the ROTC program at East Texas State University, now Texas A&M Commerce. After high school graduation, Bette enrolled at East Texas State earning a BS in Special Education, Elementary Education, and Physical Education. In July of 1972, Bette married Michael Spain.
Education has always been of huge importance both professionally and personally to Bette. She began teaching Special Education in the Dallas Independent School District while earning her Masters as an Educational Diagnostician. In 1976, the Spains relocated to Austin where husband Michael began law school, Bette taught, and daughter Cate was born. A job with a law firm took the family to for Richmond, Virginia, but soon the pull of Texas brought the Spains to San Antonio. Bette began volunteering for the Any Baby Can organization and at Santa Rosa’s Children’s Hospital serving as a member and president of their Auxiliary Board.
Moving home to New Braunfels, Bette found herself back in the classroom volunteering at Cate’s schools and tutoring in the HOST programs at Lone Star and Seele schools. Bette organized and charted the first National Junior Honor Society at New Braunfels Middle School. She continued to guide that program for several years and was recognized with a PTA Honorary Life Membership. Bette is still volunteering weekly in the library at granddaughter Sophie’s school and hosting an annual gingerbread decorating party.
In 1994, Bette was elected to the New Braunfels Independent School District school board serving three consecutive terms and holding all officer positions including president. Bette also graduated as a Master Trustee from the Texas Association of School Boards Leadership Program. In 1999, she initiated a proposal to the school board establishing the now-thriving NBISD Education Foundation and served on its first board. The NBISD recognized Bette for her significant contributions with the coveted Silver Unicorn award.
Diversity of interests is common to Living Legends, and Bette is no exception. Since 1997, Bette has volunteered on the Sophienburg Museum’s Weihnachtsmarkt Committee. She served, among other things, as event chair and for ten years compiled a cookbook given to shoppers. In 2004, she became Chair of the Museum’s gift store, and although her diagnosis of Muscular Sclerosis altered her volunteering with Sophie’s Shop, it hasn’t stopped her from supporting the Committee by delivering home-cooked lunches to volunteers during Wurstfest and Weihnachtsmarkt!
Bette served on the McKenna System Board guiding the hospital before, during, and after its sale to Christus Santa Rosa and remained a member of the McKenna Foundation Board for several years. Bette graduated from the Chamber’s Leadership Class in1993 and was instrumental in creating the New Braunfels Youth Leadership Program. Bette is involved at New Braunfels Church and volunteers with the “Cross Cares” program that partners with Gruene United Methodist Church’s homeless project.
Bette and husband, Michael, have one daughter, Cate, and two grandchildren, Sophie and Ruxin. The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung recognized Bette with their Unsung Hero Award in 2003, and the Braunfels Foundation Trust is delighted to also sing her praises and name Bette Spain a Living Legend of New Braunfels.