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.
The Braunfels Foundation Trust named Doug Miller a Living Legend of New Braunfels not because he was our State Representative in Austin for four terms. That is just one of Doug’s former titles, and his service in the Legislature is only one example of his many contributions to New Braunfels.
Miller was born in Gonzales and moved to New Braunfels where he attended kindergarten at First Protestant Church and Goodwin Elementary. After graduation from Canyon High School in 1972, Doug enrolled at Southwest Texas State – now Texas State — where driving a school bus helped pay for college. During this time, he started a band, The Sounds of Country Music, which later became Doug Miller and the Rhythm Riders. In his senior year at SWSTU, Doug joined the New Braunfels Police Department as a reserve police officer and three months before his graduation in 1976 was hired as a full-time Patrolman. A few months later, Officer Miller threw a party at his apartment’s clubhouse and danced with a girl who would become his wife. Fortunately, Anne Louise Mund met Doug’s dad two days before he passed away, and the couple was engaged a month after that first dance and married a year later.
In 1978, Doug began his insurance career with the John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Company, son Douglas II was born, and he began his civic activities. At the urging of his brother, Joe, Doug joined the New Braunfels Jaycees where he was recognized as the “Outstanding Young New Braunfelser,” “Jaycee of the Year”, and served as president. That same year, at age 24, he got a green vest, becoming a member of the Wursfest Association. In 1979, Doug bought the Ferguson Insurance Company and a few years later joined with Frank Witting to open Miller and Witting Insurance Agency. Doug is currently President of Miller and Miller Insurance Agency.
In 1981, Doug ran for the New Braunfels City Council losing by exactly one hundred votes. Disappointed but not discouraged, Doug ran again and was elected to the Council in 1987. A year later, he was elected Mayor, and Doug and Anne Louise welcomed daughter Amanda.
Although Doug would lose his next election as county commissioner, his public service was not over. In 1993, Doug was appointed to the Board of the newly-established Edwards Aquifer Authority which he had helped create. In 2008, after fifteen years on the Edwards board and serving as its Chair, Doug was elected to the Texas House of Representatives for four terms.
Doug was recognized in 1988 with the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce’s outstanding citizen honor, The Besserung Award and inducted into the Hall of Honor in 2007. He was both the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung’s “Citizen of the Year” and the Comal Independent School District’s “Outstanding Graduate” in 1997. He received the NBISD “Silver Unicorn Award” and along with Anne was the Chamber’s Small Business of the Year in 2003. Additionally, Doug has served as president of the Comal County Fair Association, Wurstfest Association, Comal County United Way, and the NBISD Education Foundation. Additionally, he was Chair of the Board of the Greater New Chamber of Commerce.
Doug is a major in the Texas Guard and was awarded their “Outstanding Service Medal” in 2012. He is a thirty-year member of the Downtown Rotary Club and a Baron in the Braunfels Foundation Trust, a member of Oakwood Baptist Church, current Chair of the Texas Legislative Conference, and Finance Chair of the 175th Anniversary Celebration of New Braunfels.
Police officer, mayor, state representative, and musician are a few of Doug Miller’s titles. He is also a husband, father to Amanda and Douglas, and proud grandfather to McKinley and Korbyn. Doug has served our community with distinction and the Braunfels Foundation Trust is honored to bestow a new title on Doug — Living Legend of New Braunfels.
Our beautiful city was founded by a German prince whose betrothed back in Germany never set foot on Texas soil. It is said that Princess Sophie feared not being a princess in newly-settled Neu Braunfels and so stayed home. If only Princess Sophie had known what Marian Benson knows: an extraordinary volunteer resume and some hard work can get one named a princess in New Braunfels. Marian Benson was named a Princess of the City of New Braunfels not once, but twice, for her devotion and many contributions, and now The Braunfels Foundation Trust names her a Living Legend.
Marian was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, while her father was serving in the Air Force. Marian’s mother was very involved not only in their church but also in the schools and activities of her four children and passed the “volunteer gene” down to her daughter, Marian. The family then lived in Denton, the hometown of Marian’s father, and in 1954 moved to Austin where Marian graduated from McCallum High School. After graduation, Marian attended Trinity University and then landed a job as a flight attendant with Braniff Airlines in Dallas.
Marian met her late husband, Howard, during this time, and the couple began their married life in Dallas later welcoming daughter Debbie and son Chris. While in Dallas, Marian was very involved in her church, but her first real volunteer “job” was as reader for Recording for the Blind at the University of Georgia. The Bensons moved to Georgia so Howard could complete his doctorate in Political Science, and following his graduation in 1973, they relocated to New Braunfels when Howard began teaching political science and law enforcement at Southwest Texas State University – now Texas State University – in San Marcos.
In 1983, with the experience gained at the Dallas Apparel Mart, Marian opened a ladies clothing boutique and her thirty-year love affair with downtown New Braunfels began. She owned and operated “The Collection” for twenty-eight years in downtown New Braunfels and was active in much of its revitalization because of her association with both the New Braunfels Downtown Association and the New Braunfels Mainstreet Association. Marian helped establish and guide many of the Festtage celebration events, such as the Plaza Tree Lighting and Wassilfest. She was a member and past president of the New Braunfels Downtown Association and on the board of the Texas Mainstreet Association. Marian co-chaired the City’s Bandstand Restoration Project via the New Braunfels Mainstreet Partners, a non-profit on whose board she still serves and created to perpetuate the restoration of downtown. She served on the Civic Center Renovation Advisory Committee and is the past chair of the Downtown Implementation Committee. Marian also served as a board member and chair of the Texas Retailers Association who named her their “Downtowner of the Year” in 1989.
Marian earned her Bluecoat, and in 1999 and a life membership with the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce. She served as Chair of the Board of the Chamber and received not only their Chair of the Board Award for Economic Development, but also the Besserung Award – or outstanding citizen award — in 2005. The Chamber named her “Small Business Person of the Year” in 1991, recognized her in the Hall of Honors, and bestowed the Princess of the City of New Braunfels recognition. Marian currently serves on the Chamber’s Convention and Visitors Bureau Advisory Committee.
Marian is past president of the New Braunfels Rotary club, past board member of the Sophienburg Museum and Archives and the Christus Santa Rosa Foundation, and a volunteer with the SOS Food Bank. She’s been on the church choir and served as an elder at her church, New Braunfels Presbyterian.
Marian is currently serving on the boards of the New Braunfels Housing Authority and the New Braunfels Area Community Foundation where is a founding member. She serves on the Chamber’s Texas Legislative Conference Arrangements Committee, is a volunteer driver for Family Promise, a Braunfels Foundation Trust baroness, and is the co-chair on the Sophienburg Museum’s Weihnachtsmarkt Vendor Committee.
The Braunfels Foundation Trust is delighted for the opportunity to bestow another title on our baroness and princess – a Living Legend of New Braunfels
Dr. Frederick Frueholz, Jr., was born in New Braunfels on December 12, 1927, into a family of physicians. Emigrating from Germany, Drs. Frederick Frueholz, Sr. and Bertha Frueholz, set up their family medical practice in the iconic home at Seguin Street where Dr. Frederick Frueholz, Jr. resides to this day. It would be an understatement to say that Dr. Fred, as he is affectionately known, has roots that run deep and wide in the landscape of New Braunfels.
Living only a couple of blocks from the Comal River, young Frederick split river time with piano and voice lessons. He attended Carl Schurz Elementary where he participated in the band. He was a Boy Scout and eventually earned his Eagle Scout with Bronze Palm. At New Braunfels High School, Dr. Fred participated in band and drama. As a junior, he helped start and organize the Unicorn Stables, a popular weekend activity center in downtown New Braunfels offering food and fun for New Braunfels high school students. He also served as the first president of the organization.
Dr. Fred graduated from New Braunfels High School in 1945 and went on to study at the University of Texas in Austin. Although architecture was — and still is – of great interest to him, he received a Bachelor of Science and an acceptance to the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston. While studying at medical school, Fred kept his architecture passion alive by designing his fraternity’s new house!
Although there was never really any doubt where the young doctor would hang his shingle, after graduating from medical school Dr. Fred began an internship at Santa Rosa Hospital in San Antonio. Dr. Fred was a member of the National Guard and taught in the Medical Corp at Fort Sam Houston. He would soon leave for a two year commitment in France where he served at the Army’s 28th General Hospital eventually returning home to New Braunfels as a captain.
The family’s growing medical practice required more examining rooms and office space., so Dr. Fred designed the new medical office that was built directly behind the family’s home. The Frueholz practice treated generations of New Braunfels families, but an injured knee forced Dr. Fred’s early retirement in 1987.
A fulltime family physician’s days are long, but Dr. Fred’s service to New Braunfels extends far beyond his medical practice and includes his involvement and commitment to First Protestant Church. Singing in the choir began in this youth and continued into adulthood. He has served on the Church Council, and on Building Committees, just to name a few. .
In addition to architecture, music has always been important to Dr. Fred. It is not surprising that he served on the board of the Mid-Texas Symphony, and organized the Symphony Chorus. He founded and served as the president of the Heritage Chorale, now known as the Community Chorale. He sang with and was a member and president of the Texas Bach Choir. He continued his education over six summers studying architecture and history at Oxford University in England.
His knowledge and love of the history of New Braunfels resulted in his establishing and organizing the Comal County Historical Commission. He served as the Commission’s first chair and continues to serve on its board. To recognize his contributions to historic preservation, the Comal County Historical Commission established and bestowed on Alton Rahe in 2014 the first Frederick J. Frueholz Jr. Historic Preservation Award. The award honors individuals for their significant dedication to historic preservation. Additionally, Dr. Fred is a member of the Sophienburg Museum and Archives and the Heritage and Conservations Societies of New Braunfels.
Dr. Fred was a member and president of the McKenna Hospital staff, as well as the Comal County Medical Association. He was a Rotarian and a Paul Harris Fellow. With several other prominent community leaders, Dr. Fred was involved in establishing the New Braunfels National Bank – now Wells Fargo – where he also served as board member.
A fifth generation Texan and a descendent of seven founding New Braunfels families, Colonel Dennis Heitkamp retired after twenty seven years in the United States Air Force to his hometown of New Braunfels. Dennis would then begin a banking career with Texas Commerce Bank — later JP Morgan Chase — and amass a remarkable volunteer resume of service that has secured his place as a Living Legend of New Braunfels.
Dennis graduated early from New Braunfels High School in 1952 and entered Texas A&M in 1952 graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology. At Texas A&M, he was recognized as one of ten Distinguished Military Graduates and was awarded an Air Force commission. His flying experience spanned a period of eight years including sorties in Viet Nam with the remaining nineteen years spent in Command, Operations and Maintenance of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. His significant military awards include the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, two Meritorious Service Medals, eight Air Medals, the Vietnam Service Medal with seven Gold Devices, and the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm. While in the Air Force, he received an MBA from Ohio State University
Dennis’s service to his community is as impressive as his service to his country. He has served at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church and was instrumental in transitioning the Fund Drive from the former Comal County Community Fund to the successful United Way. He served the United Way in various capacities for many years and was recognized as the Comal United Way Volunteer of the Year.
His love of his hometown and his heritage is seen in his service to the Heritage Society where he has been board member, treasurer, and President. Dennis and his wife, Jackie, have co-chaired both the Heritage Exhibit and Folkfest events and were honored by the Heritage Society as Grand Marshalls of the KinderMasken Parade. Dennis also served as vice president of the Conservation Society and a board member and president of the Sophienburg Museum and Archives. An Opa Emeritus, Dennis served on the Wurstfest Association Board and as Grosse Opa. After the disastrous 1998 flood, many suggested cancelling the upcoming Wurstfest, but as President, Dennis rallied the Association to clean and repair the Wurstfest grounds so the many non-profit organizations would not be negatively impacted. Following the successful Festival, the Association donated all its profits to the community.
Dennis has been involved in countless areas of the Lions Club from the local to the state levels serving in the highest leadership levels for over twenty years. His service to those with special physical needs is evidenced by his service at the Texas Lions Camp in Kerrville and for which he was recognized with his induction into the Texas Lions Hall of Fame in 2013. Dennis is a Chamber Senior Blue Coat, a Life Member of the Chamber, and a recipient of the Chairman of the Board Award for Historic Preservation. He has received the Besserung Award for community building and was installed in the Hall of Honor. He has served as both member and chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors, is credited with creating the idea of Leadership New Braunfels, and was on the founding committee for the Youth Leadership New Braunfels program.
He has served as the Finance Chairman and Fund Drive Chairman for the Sesquicentennial Commission, Chairman of the Comprehensive Master Plan, Public Facilities, Public Services, Capital Improvements and Finance Subcommittee.
Dennis has served as both Vice President and President of the Braunfels Foundation Trust. He was instrumental in having the ownership of the Historic Hinmann House transferred to The Braunfels Foundation Trust and in establishing that historic facility as the Home of the Communities in Schools of South Central Texas. Because of this leadership, the Braunfels Foundation Trustees allows Communities in Schools to operate rent free from that location. Communities in Schools awarded him their prestigious Friends of Children Award and the Braunfels Foundation Trust recognized him as the Honorary Chairman of the 2012 Legends Banquet. He has been recognized by the New Braunfels ISD Education Foundation as a Distinguished Alumni.
Dennis Heitkamp is living proof you can go home again and make a difference. For that, he is now a Living Legend.
Local area high school students received First Step Career Vocational/ Technical Scholarships from the Braunfels Foundation Trust & The Baron and Baroness’ of the Trust at the McKenna Ballroom on April 26th. The Projects Committee worked with both local school districts and their high schools to solicit applications from graduating high school seniors interested in post-secondary education for vocational or technical careers and or the testing required to take the next step in the process of work after high school.
This year, 2018, the Braunfels Foundation Trust(BFT) awarded 72 graduating seniors from our area the BFT First Step Scholarship. The board allocated up to $109,500 toward these scholarships.
Many thanks to the Events Committee and Baronesses Casey Cox, Shelly Minus and Toya Boyer in planning the get together at the River Hofbrau. For those of you unable to attend, you were missed. River Hofbrau provided delicious food, lovely river views and the company was wonderful!